21 March 2013

Rwanda: Kagame Assures UN On Rwanda Help in Ntaganda Transfer

Photo: Paulo Filgueiras /UN
President Paul Kagame has assured the U.S. of his support in the transfer of Congolese rebel, Bosco Ntaganda, to the ICC (file photo).

President Paul Kagame has assured the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon that they would work with the US embassy to ensure smooth transfer of the indicted Congolese General Bosco Ntaganda.

The president made the assurance while meeting Ki-moon in New York on Wednesday following his visit to Mexico where he co-chaired the BroadBand Commission meeting. "We will work to make what the US Embassy needs in relation to Bosco Ntaganda's case happen as fast as possible," Kagame assured the UN Chief.

Ban Ki-moon relatively described Bosco Ntaganda's transfer as important for the fight against impunity and thanked President Kagame for Rwanda's cooperation. Ntaganda is currently holed up in the American Embassy since Monday morning. The Rwandan government announced Ntaganda's presence on Monday evening.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mushikiwabo twitted about Ntaganda and said that Ntaganda entered Rwanda and surrendered to US Embassy in Kigali.

The fugitive General requested to be transferred to The Hague based ICC immediately after surprisingly entering the embassy compound. The U.S government had put a $5 million bounty on Ntaganda's head.

Ntaganda is charged of committing crimes such as recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Ntaganda, 40, was promoted to the rank of general in DRC's armed forces a few years after the ICC issued his arrest warrant.

He fell out with President Joseph Kabila early last year after the latter seemed to bow to international pressure to arrest the former rebel leader, who had joined the Government under a March 2009 peace deal.

Since then, Ntaganda has not been in the limelight though he was repeatedly linked with the M23 rebellion in eastern DR Congo, which broke out around the same time he deserted from the army.

Last week, a split within M23 saw its military commander, Col. Sultan Makenga, dismiss Bishop Jean Runiga, who was believed to be in favour of a hard-line stance in the ongoing peace talks with Kinshasa and also accused of working closely with Ntaganda.

Runiga, along with an estimated 700 fighters crossed into Rwanda on Saturday after they were uprooted by rival M23 fighters, sparking speculation that Ntaganda moved deep into DRC jungles without protection.

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