Congolese authorities recaptured one of two escaped prisoners on trial for killing two UN investigators andthe second suspect narrowly eluded arrest, a senior military prosecutor said.
Evariste Ilunga Lumu and Kanowa Tshiaba, escaped from prison in Kananga on Monday, are on trial accused of participating in the killing of Michael Sharp, an American, and Zaida Catalan, a Swede, in March 2017.
Sharp and Catalan were investigating conflict in central Kasai region between state security forces and the Kamuina Nsapu militia, which prosecutors blame for their deaths.
Tshiaba was arrested in the Nganza neighbourhood of Kanaga, a bastion of support for the militia, which waged an insurgency in 2016-17, but Ilunga managed to slip away, said Timothee Mukuntu, DR Congo’s top military prosecutor.
“At the moment of the arrest, Tshiaba was with Evariste Ilunga,” Mukuntu told Reuters. “The population of Nganza resisted so police were able to extract Tshiaba but not Ilunga.”
Ilunga is the only defendant among more than a dozen on trial to admit taking part the killings. An army colonel and an informant for the national intelligence service, the ANR, have also been arrested in connection with the case.
They deny involvement and have not been formally charged.
Ilunga and Tshiaba’s lawyer said a third defendant in the case also escaped, but Mukuntu said he had never left the prison.