A court in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced seven soldiers to death for cowardice in the face of the enemy and murder.
They were found to have fled advancing M23 rebels, retreating through the town of Sake where they caused the death of two people by recklessly discharging their arms.
Last November, three other soldiers were convicted of cowardice and sentenced to death, however, their lawyers says plan is on to appeal the sentence.
Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes as a result of fighting in the mineral-rich North Kivu region, despite the Pope’s ardent pleas for peace during his visit to the nation last week.
Since gaining independence in the 1960s, the DR Congo has seen constant violence. The struggle to control the country’s natural wealth and ethnic strife have motivated some.
The UN and the regional force in East Africa have drawn criticism from the general population for their inability to prevent the M23 rebels from taking vast areas of North Kivu.
In DR Congo, death sentences are commuted to life imprisonment.
Writing by Adeniyi Bakare