War Criminal Bosco Ntaganda Stirs Never Ending Trouble in Congo- 5,000 Flee North Kivu

DR Congo rebel General Bosco Ntaganda is pictured in 2009 (AFP/File, Lionel Healing)

DR Congo rebel General Bosco Ntaganda is pictured in 2009 (AFP/File, Lionel Healing)

A few weeks back, I covered the story on General Bosco Ntaganda and his loyal soldiers’ defection and how it could shake DRC’s very fragile peace and lead to massive unrest. Regrettably that’s exactly what has happened this week. A BBC reporter in the Goma area says thousands of people are fleeing fierce fighting between government forces and soldiers loyal to Bosco. To  be exact, 5,000 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, have been displaced (src) in Congo’s North Kivu province, the United Nations refugee agency said Wednesday. The reporter saw a constant stream of families loaded with mattresses, kitchen utensils and suitcases on the road between Sake and Goma.

“There has been a lot of shooting, this is why we have fled,” an elderly man who fled Mushake told the BBC.

Bosco’s arrest warrant by the ICC was issued in 2006, but three years later Ntaganda and his fighters were made part of the Congolese army as part of a peace deal. President Kabila has previously refused to arrest him for numerous reasons but said Bosco should face a military tribunal in Congo and there is no need to hand him over to the International Criminal Court.

“We’re seeing now that people are suffering from that. It was predictable. You don’t integrate a former human rights abuser into the military.  They will continue the human rights abuse,” Kambala Musavuli, a spokesperson for Friends of the Congo.

However Ntaganda has continually denied any involvement in the new mutiny:

“I am not involved in what happens here (Masisi), I am an officer in the army of the DRC (Congo) and I obey the orders of my superiors,” Ntaganda told a journalist in Goma who works for Deutsche Welle. “My problem is between me and my superiors that I have promised to solve it.”

According to Musavuli, the scope of problems in Congo are huge and thus one of the solutions is the most important:

“We must bring these rebel leaders to justice so that they don’t continue to repeat these crimes,” he said. “There needs to be an end to the culture of impunity.”

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