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CONGO: Six soldiers charged over killing of 40 protesters

SIX soldiers were charged on Tuesday for their involvement in the killing of more than 40 people during an army crackdown on violent anti-U.N. demonstrations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week.

The group, which includes a colonel and a lieutenant-colonel from the republican guard, are being prosecuted for “crimes against humanity by murder, malicious destruction and inciting soldiers to commit acts contrary to duty or discipline”, according to a statement by the military court in Goma.

The charges were read out at the start of the trial on Tuesday, before it was suspended due to heavy rain. The soldiers were not yet asked to enter their plea.

The two officers, whose arrest was announced on Sunday, were in command of soldiers who opened fire on protesters, according to a source close to the presidency who asked not to be named.

Congo’s government said 43 people were killed and 56 injured in the unrest in Goma last Wednesday. The U.N. human rights office said that the death toll could be higher.

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