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DRC War Crimes Suspects Plead Not Guilty


Two Congolese militiamen accused of trying to wipe out a village in 2003 have pleaded not guilty before the International Criminal Court.

Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo face charges of murder, rape, and using child soldiers. The charges stem from a deadly attack on the village of Bogoro in the Congo's Ituri province in February 2003.

Prosecutors say more than 200 people were killed during the attack, and that some survivors were turned into sex slaves for the fighters.

Katanga and Ngudjolo entered their pleas at a pretrial hearing at The Hague, in the Netherlands Thursday. The court has not set a starting date for their trial.

The two are among four men the court has charged with war crimes stemming from violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The DRC government has struggled to assert control over the region's many militias since the end of a brutal civil war in 2002.

The court recently said the trial of another militia leader, Thomas Lubanga, will begin on January 26. That trial will be the first the court has held since its formation in 2002.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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