DRC colonel sentenced to death over Goma anti-UN protest deaths

A Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) colonel has been found guilty of murder and other crimes related to the August killing of 56 people during an army crackdown on anti-UN demonstrations in eastern part of the country, a local court said on Monday.

Col Mike Mikombe, who was head of the Republican Guard unit in the city of Goma, where the incident took place, was one of six soldiers on trial. He was sentenced to death, but the death penalty is no longer applied in Congo, and is generally commuted to life imprisonment.

His lawyer, Serge Lukanga, said he would appeal the decision.

Three other soldiers were sentenced to 10 years’ servitude. Mikombe’s deputy and another soldier were acquitted.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Eastern Congo, known as Monusco, has faced protests since last year, spurred partly by complaints that it has failed to protect civilians against decades of militia violence.

An anti-Monusco protest in July 2022 resulted in more than 15 deaths, including three peacekeepers in Goma and the city of Butembo.