Trial for 36 suspected militia opens in DR Congo

A court trial for 36 suspected members of a Democratic Republic of Congo rebel group opened on Friday.

The 36 suspected members of the outlawed Kamwina Nsapu militia are being prosecuted by a military court for being behind the clashes that shook the capital Kinshasa between May and June, including an attack on a prison facility that led to the escape of 4,000 inmates.

Congolese authorities also accuse the suspects of being behind further assaults on police stations, the central market and two prosecutors’ offices.

Violence in the DR Congo has spiked since September 2016, with hundreds said to have been killed and more than a million forced to flee their homes.

The violence in the country was further fueled by President Joseph Kabila’s failure to step down at the end of his term in November as required by the constitution, as the electoral authority failed to conduct an election.

The body said it could not hold the vote due to logistical challenges.

United Nations personnel in the country have uncovered mass graves in their investigations.

Two experts working for the world agency were killed in March while investigating the unrest, one of whom was beheaded.

The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley visited the country in October, and said it must conduct an election before the end of 2018, or else there would be consequences, including withdrawal of international support.