Goma, DRC | URN | A garrison military court has handed a death sentence to seven Commandos of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) after pleading guilty to cowardice in front of the enemy.
The seven Commandos attached to the Republican Guard were arrested after fleeing fighting with the M23 rebels on February 9, 2022, in Kamuronza grouping in Sake, Masisi territory, about 27 Kilometers West of Goma City. They are: Jonathan Mosazi Mondomo, Rodriguez Mayiza Mikoki, Tonton Koloti, Christian Kayema Munanga, Grégoire Mbutene Juiour Ndiwa Mawoka and Ancelme Bangamwabo Mudatinya.
According to the prosecution, the FARDC Commandos fled the fighting zone towards Sake town while shooting and caused panic among thousands of civilians who also abandoned their homes and fled towards Goma, Minova, and Mubambiro.
The civilians who were also fleeing the clashes between the FARDC and M23 feared a possible entry of the M23 rebels into the city of Sake after observing some FARDC soldiers also running away. In the process, two civilians died and four were wounded.
Appearing before the public military court sitting at the Congolese National Police Station in Sake Masisi territory, last evening, the seven were charged with cowardice, murder, aggravated assault, and dissipation of ammunition of war, contrary to article 57 of the military penal code.
The seven pleaded guilty to the charges and the court presided over by Maj. Lazare Amusini sentenced them to death.
In June 2022, over 170 soldiers abandoned the Bunagana border and fled to the Ugandan side of the Kisoro district and a few hours later M23 rebels appeared and occupied it. To date, FARDC is yet to reconquer the area.
Fighting between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers has left many parts of Rutshuru, Masisi, and Nyiragongo including Uganda-DR Congo in the hands of the rebels. DR Congo accuses Rwanda of backing the rebels while Rwanda and the Rebels strongly deny it.
M23 says that it is fighting bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination.