War Criminal Ntaganda surrenders at U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda
Congolese Revolutionary Army -M23- leader, wanted war criminal, Bosco Ntaganda has turned himself in to the United States Embassy in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has confirmed in a video statement that Ntaganda indeed walked into the U.S. Embassy on Monday, and asked to be transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
Nicknamed “Terminator”, Ntaganda was first found guilty by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2006 for recruiting child soldiers during the Democratic Republic of Congo’s bloody five-year civil war. He was never captured.
Charges of ethnic prosecution, rape, and deliberate murdering of civilians were added in May 2012, as a result of evidence given during the trial of his former boss, Thomas Lubanga.
Despite being wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, by 2009 Ntaganda was promoted to General by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila.
When the founder of National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) –a rebel group against the DRC-, Laurent Nkunda, was arrested in Rwanda in 2009, Ntaganda decided to form his own rebel group from the defecting rebels of CNDP in April 2012, named Congolese Revolutionary Army or March 23 Movement (M23).
The group has been fighting the government (DRC) troops in the east of the country since its inception, citing poor conditions in the army and the government’s unwillingness to implement the 23 March 2009 peace deal that was brokered between the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
According to the United Nations report on the situation, dated November 19, 2012, over 60,000 people are internally displaced due to the conflict between the M23 and DRC, adding to an already dire humanitarian situation in which over 2.4 million people are internally displaced due to conflicts between various rebel groups, Congo and Rwandan Armies.
DRC President Kabila did call for Ntaganda’s arrest, but he said he would not be handing him to the ICC.
Ntaganda, an ethnic Tutsi, was born in Rwanda in 1973. He had to flee the country as a teenager after attacks on Tutsis by the other ethnic groups. After Rwandan unrest spilled over into Congo, he started to switch between fighting with rebels and serving in national armies – both Rwandan and Congolese.
He has been a major player in Africa since 2006. He is known by his ruthlessness and personally taking part in military and rebel operations. What led him to the decision to surrender is yet unclear. Progressive Press will follow up on the situation as it develops.
Image and Video Credits: AussieNews1, Al Jazeera And Agencies, www.africanaute.com, www.defenceweb.co.za
Sources: BBC, UN, Washington Post, Al Jazeera