Angolan court jails Christian sect members for up to 28 years, for killing nine police officers
A Christian sect leader and some of his followers in Angola have been sentenced to up to 28 years in jail over their roles in the killing of nine police officers last year during a police raid on the group.
Angolan provincial court judge Afonso Pinto on Tuesday, sentenced Jose 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.
A lawyer defending the convicted leader later told journalists they would appeal against the sentences at the Supreme Court.
Last year, Angola launched 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 raids ended with the capture of preacher Jose Kalupeteka, leader of a millenarian sect called "The Light of the World", and his followers. Thirteen sect members were also killed in clashes, police said.
The Angolan opposition party UNITA has said that more than 1,000 sect members were killed during clashes with police last year.