Angola jails Christian sect members for up to 28 years over police murders

April 6, 2016
Sect leader Jose Kalupeteka is escorted by police in Huambo, Angola, in this picture taken May 5, 2015. The details of a police raid on April 16 in the remote hills of central Huambo province have been fiercely contested, sharpening the divide between the ruling MPLA and the main opposition party UNITA, who fought on opposing sides in a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. The Angolan police said 13 "snipers" from "The Light of the World" were killed during a raid targeted at capturing Kalupeteka, a popular anti-authority preacher who says the world will end on Dec. 31.  REUTERS/Herculano Coroado - RTX1BS9M

(Sect leader Jose Kalupeteka is escorted by police in Huambo, Angola, in this picture taken May 5, 2015. REUTERS/Herculano Coroado)

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.

Defense 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.

Source: Angola jails Christian sect members for up to 28 years over police murders | Reuters

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