DRC. NINE SECT MEMBERS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
October 1, 2008: nine members of an outlawed religious sect in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were sentenced to death, judicial sources said.
The court at Matadi in western Bas-Congo region handed down the sentences following a trial that lasted nearly three months to "nine members of the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) sect and acquitted four others," said the sources.
Some 17 followers were prosecuted for offences including associating with criminals and undermining the security of the state following their arrest in March in the wake of violent clashes with police. At least 27 people died in the violence according to the government which claims the BDK had attacked state targets, killed police and driven non-natives from the region.
Other sources put the number of dead at up to 100.
President Joseph Kabila's government in March sent police reinforcements after three people were burned alive by suspected members of the BDK. Community leaders and local authorities had for months accused the sect of acts of intolerance. Four of those arrested died while in detention. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 01/10/2008)