A Congolese government soldier
A group of 13 officers were sentenced for Democratic republic of Congo mutiny. Reuters

Sentences ranging from two years to execution have been passed on 13 military officers for their involvement in a mutiny in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A colonel and a lieutenant colonel were sentenced to death in absentia for "organising or taking part in an insurrectional movement," Colonel Freddy Mukendi, first president of the Bukavu court, told AFP.

The death penalty is usually commuted to life imprisonment in the DRC.

Eight other officers on trial at the hearing in the town of Uvira in South Kivu province were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Three other officers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to 200 years.

Five officers were acquitted of multiple offences including insurrection and desertion.

Mutiny ordered by "the Terminator" Ntaganda?

In April, the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) faced a mutiny after former rebels loyal to indicted war criminal Jean Bosco Ntaganda defected in protest at living conditions and unpaid wages.

Several hundred defectors regrouped and formed a new rebel force that attacked villages in the region.

Two thousand villagers fled their homes across the border to Rwanda and Uganda.

Ntaganda, also known as "the Terminator", was the military chief of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) which was incorporated into the army in 2009 following a peace deal with the government in Kinshasa.

Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, including the recruitment of child soldiers, in 2002 and 2003.

At the time he was fighting in another rebel group along Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who was found guilty in March of recruiting child soldiers in the same period by the ICC.

Ntaganda had previously denied involvement in the mutiny, saying he did not encourage the soldiers to defect and did not order their offensive.

Even though the FARDC has stopped the fighting in South Kivu province attacks are still going on in neighbouring North Kivu.