DRC: appearance of 140 members of a mystical-religious sect before the military prosecutor's office in Goma

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 140 people appear before the military prosecutor's office of the garrison of Goma, North Kivu. These people are mostly followers of a mystical-religious sect who had announced a demonstration to demand the departure of MONUSCO (UN mission in the country), the East African Force and international NGOs in North Kivu. They are being prosecuted for criminal association and participation in an insurrectional movement.

Goma, DRC, 30 August 2023: security forces also made numerous arrests on the sidelines of the repression of the demonstration organized against the presence of MONUSCO and the force of the East African Community of States, both accused of inaction in the face of insecurity in the eastern part of the DRC, by a mystical-religious group. AFP--

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With our special envoy in Goma, William Basimike

They range in age from 16 to fifties, but the majority of defendants are young men and women. Their list mentions, at the top, the name of the pastor Ephraim Bisimwa, in his forties, leader of the sect called Natural Judaic and Messianic Faith to the Nations, nicknamed the Wazalendo ("Patriots" in Kiswahili).

A member of the collective of defense lawyers who requested anonymity recalled that the departure of MONUSCO is the concern of all the Congolese people, a withdrawal evoked by former President Joseph Kabila and his successor Felix Tshisekedi.

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We will prove that these young people are neither drug addicts nor troublemakers " assured this lawyer. He also hopes that the prosecution will be able to enlighten the public on the bloody repression against the sect, since well before last Wednesday's demonstration.

In a video shared shortly after the crackdown, the spokesman for the North Kivu provincial government said the young people are "manipulated, drugged and bought with banknotes to sow insecurity."

According to judicial sources, this trial is a first step while investigations are still underway to identify responsibilities, nearly a week after the killing in Goma.

This Tuesday, September 5, the court hopes to close the phase of identification of the defendants and, if possible, begin the merits of the case.

" READ ALSO DRC: the anger does not fall in Goma, 4 days after the bloody repression of a demonstration

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