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Killers of former Congo president flee jail

More than a dozen soldiers sentenced to death for the 2001 assassination Kabila escaped from a jail overnight.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2006 05:37 IST

More than a dozen soldiers sentenced to death for the 2001 assassination of former Congolese president Laurent Desire Kabila escaped from a Kinshasa-area jail overnight, a prison official said.

Congolese Justice minister Pierre Ilunga confirmed to AFP that 14 people had bolted overnight on MOnday from the prison in Makala, a town near Kinshasa, without identifying them.

"Fourteen people have escaped from the Makala prison and we are awaiting a report from the prison director on the subject," he said.

But the prison source identified the escapees as troops condemned to death for their role in assassinating Kabila, father of Joseph Kabila, the current president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Their flight comes days before Kabila faces off against former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, in the second round of presidential elections.

Now 35, Kabila became president of DR Congo following his father's assassination.

In 2003, a total of 30 defendants, mostly soldiers, were sentenced to death -- some in absentia -- for Kabila's slaying, following nearly 10 months of trial in a military court.

The escape by the 14 "took place without (visible signs of) breaking out and specialized services are questioning a certain number of people at the prison," said the jail official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.

First Published: Oct 25, 2006 05:37 IST