Four members of an expatriate Congolese group, the Combatants, were armed and dressed in military clothing when they broke into a Melbourne home and menaced a mother breastfeeding her son.


Pierre Mwamba, 37, and his brother Tshiswaka Mwamba, 31, carried a machete and a baseball bat when they and two others pulled Adele Atatu out of bed by her underwear and threatened her in April 2013.

Ms Atatu is the wife of Alain Lombo, who had posted a YouTube video criticising the Combatants for their views on a musician they believed supported the Democratic Republic of Congo government.

The Combatants are an international organisation opposed to the government of the DRC, where Mwamba and his three co-accused were born, and they opposed an Australian tour by musician JB Mpiana.

Ms Atatu was told by the two Mwamba brothers – as well as Mbuyi Mwamba, 31, and Mualaba Madjaga, 24 – to tell her husband to “back off” after they threatened and manhandled her.

Her sense of safety and security were seriously compromised by their offending, the Victorian County Court heard on Thursday.

The men had earlier kidnapped an associate of Mr Lombo and his family, driving to the man’s house, blocking him into his driveway with their car then forcing him to drive them to Mr Lombo’s address.

A Victorian County Court jury found them each guilty of one count of aggravated burglary and five counts of kidnapping in relation to the events.

Victorian County Court Judge Mark Dean sentenced the men to jail terms ranging from four to 12 months on Thursday, and ordered each of them to serve community corrections orders with unpaid work for the kidnapping crimes.

He said it was ironic that the men, all refugees who fled persecution in the DRC, resorted to violence to further their own political cause.

“Politically motivated violence has no place in a pluralist and democratic society and it must be denounced by this court,” Judge Dean said.

“The offending was cowardly and, in my opinion, without justification.”

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