Four other military personnel were sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Ituri Military Court.
All but one of those receiving the death sentence were members of the military.
The two colonels were accused of planning an attack on a convoy in March, with the aim of stealing four gold bars and $6,000 in cash being transported by the victims, who were returning from a gold mine.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, death penalties are regularly handed down but then systematically commuted to life imprisonment.
“This must serve as an example for the black sheep in the armed forces,” Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, a representative for military operations in the gold-rich Ituri province, told AFP.
Attacks on Chinese-managed mines and Chinese workers are not uncommon in resource-rich eastern DRC, which has been ravaged by militia violence for decades.
Last year, the DRC government placed security officials in charge of the administration of Ituri and the neighboring North Kivu province in a bid to curb violence. However, the measure has failed to stop attacks.
The defense team said it would appeal.
Voice of America