The soldier responsible for a family massacre that killed 13 people on Saturday in Ituri, in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said on Thursday.
Capital punishment is still often pronounced in the DRC, but it has not been applied for 20 years and is systematically commuted to life imprisonment.
Babby Ndombe Opetu, 32, a private assigned to the Congolese naval force based in Tchomia, on the shores of Lake Albert, had been tried in flagrante since Tuesday by the Ituri garrison military court, which sentenced him in the evening. Wednesday, Franck Bahati, president of the Tchomia youth association, told AFP.
According to testimonies, this soldier could not bear that one of his children, who died in his absence, was buried without his being informed. Returning to the locality of the death, the fishing village of Nyakova, in the territory of Djugu, he opened fire on the people gathered for the mourning of the child.
The soldier then fled but was quickly arrested in Tchomia.
At the hearing, the accused explained that he was also in conflict with his wife over money. In addition to the death of the child, "here are things that annoyed me and indeed, I shot her," he said, according to the same source.
His wife was seriously injured in the hand and 13 other people, including at least nine children, were killed. Among the dead are two of the shooter's own children.
"Why did you kill people who had nothing to do with the conflict between you and your wife?", the judge asked the murderous soldier. "I acted out of anger, indeed, I killed, I shot a lot of people...", replied the accused.
Babby Ndombe Opetu was convicted of the murder of 13 civilians and the attempted murder of two others. The military tribunal condemned him to the death penalty, disbarment from the armed forces and to pay one million dollars in damages to the families of the victims.
"We also want the Congolese state to do everything so that the families are compensated ," reacted Franck Bahati.