An Angolan court on Tuesday sentenced the leader of a Christian sect and some of his followers to up to 28 years in jail for the killing of nine police officers last year during a police raid on the group.
The raids ended with the capture of preacher Jose Kalupeteka, leader of a millenarian sect called “The Light of the World”, and his followers a year ago. Thirteen sect members were also killed in clashes, police said.
On Tuesday, provincial court judge Afonso Pinto sentenced Kalupeteka and nine sect members to between 16 and 28 years in jail after their trial on charges including murder, attempted murder, resistance to police detention, illegal possession of weapons and damage to property.
Defence lawyers later told journalists they would appeal against the sentences at the Supreme Court.
Angola launched last year’s raids to crack down on fringe Christian church groups deemed illegal under new rules requiring denominations to have 100,000 registered members spread across at least a third of the southern African country’s 18 provinces.
Kalupeteka’s church has an estimated 3,000 members.
The Angolan opposition party UNITA has said that more than 1,000 sect members were killed during clashes with police last year.