• World - Africa
  • Updated: July 28, 2023

DRC: Soldier Sentenced To Death For Family Slaughter

DRC: Soldier Sentenced To Death For Family Slaughter

A DRC Soldier

According to authorities, the soldier who carried out a family massacre that left 13 people dead last Saturday in Itari, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been given the death penalty.

Capital punishment is still used in the DRC, but it has not been used in 20 years and is routinely commuted to life imprisonment.

Babby Ndombe Opetu, 32, a private assigned to the Congolese naval force based in Tchomia on Lake Albert's shores, had been tried in flagrante by the Ituri garrison military court since Tuesday, which sentenced him in the evening. 

Franck Bahati, president of the Tchomia youth association, told AFP. 

According to testimonies, this soldier could not bear the fact that one of his children died while he was away and was buried without his knowledge.

Returning to the place of the death, the fishing village of Nyakova in Djugu territory, he opened fire on the people gathered for the child's funeral.

The soldier then fled but was apprehended quickly in Tchomia.

During the hearing, the accused revealed that he was also at odds with his wife over money. 

In addition to the death of the child, he stated, "Here are things that annoyed me, and indeed, I shot her," according to the same source.

His wife was seriously injured in the hand, and 13 other people were killed, including at least nine children. Two of the shooter's children were among those killed.

"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 found guilty of murdering 13 civilians and attempting to murder two others. 

The military tribunal sentenced him to death, disbarment from the armed forces, and a one-million-dollar restitution payment to the victims' families.

"We also want the Congolese government to do everything possible to compensate the families," Franck Bahati stated further.

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