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General News    H3'ed 3/18/13

US Embassy Accepts Surrender of Warlord Bosco Ntaganda

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(Article changed on March 18, 2013 at 17:09)

Wanted International Criminal Court (ICC) warlord Bosco Ntaganda has walked into the United States Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda and surrendered to US authorities. The BBC, the Government of Rwanda and local sources have confirmed this. Ntaganda, who has been under indictment for heinous war crimes since 2006, was made a general in the Congolese army (FARDC) as part of a brokered "peace deal" with a rebel army, the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). In 2009, General Laurent Nkunda, leader of the CNDP, was ousted in a bloodless coup perpetrated by Ntaganda. This resulted in two CNDP organizations; those who remained loyal to former commander Laurent Nkunda and those who accepted the military authority of Ntaganda. It is a significant and critical distinction that has been blurred by international reporting.

Bosco Ntaganda
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Bosco Ntaganda by AFP

The Goma Peace Accord ultimately faltered in 2012 when former rebel soldiers left the Congo army to form a new political/military movement, the M23. Leaders of the M23 have repeatedly denied involvement with Ntaganda, while the US State Department has consistently attempted to tie the warlord to the M23. In recent weeks, fighting broke out between Ntaganda's forces and those of the M23, led by Nkunda protege General Sultani Makenga. Ntaganda was routed and camping openly in Kibumba in DRC while the UN Mission (MONUSCO), the government of DRCongo, and Interpol did not arrest him.

How Ntaganda traveled from DRCongo to the capitol of Rwanda in Kigali remains a mystery at this point. 

AlJazeera reports that Ntaganda has asked the United States to transfer him to the Hague where the ICC Court is based. This presents another interesting twist, since neither Rwanda nor the United States are signatories to the Rome Statute that created the ICC .

The BBC is adding ethnic overtones to this development, referring to Ntaganda as a "Tutsi" warlord and the government of Rwanda as "Tutsi dominated."

Over the past two days, DRCongo spokesman Lambert Mende has been setting the stage for this development by insisting that Ntaganda has been in Rwanda for two days-- the implication being that Rwanda was aiding him. 

The BBC seems to have become genocide deniers, saying that the FDLR Hutu groups who fled into DRCongo in 1994 after killing up to one million Tutsis are "accused" genocidaires.

The questions are piling up, and the most significant for Americans should be "What is the US covert role, if any, in this development?"


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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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