26 December 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: DRC Mai Mai Militia Leader Arrested

The army on Monday, December 23, 2013, arrested a rebel leader whose militia has been accused of committing war crimes in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, reports said.

Col. Kakule Muhima, alias Shetani or Satan, was arrested in Kiwandja in North Kivu Province in the eastern part of the country, Jean-Claude Bambanze, a civil society leader for Rutshuru region said in a statement. Bambanze said Muhima was arrested "after looting money, telephones and other items of value from five houses" in a part of Kiwanja where the UN mission, MONUSCO, has a large base.

The Spokesman for the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces, FARDC, in North Kivu Province, Lt. Col. Olivier Amuli, confirmed the arrest. He said Shetani will soon be transferred to the provincial headquarters, Goma, to be tried by a military tribunal, Radio France Internationale, RFI reported yesterday, December 25, 2013. The militia leader, who was earlier declared wanted for various war crimes, including torture, assassinations and rape, was recently deposed as leader of his group.

According to Great Lakes Voice, Col. Muhima's Popular Democratic Force, FPD, was formed in September 2012 in Binza, Rutshuru, to fight M 23 rebels and "stop the plan of balkanization of the DRC in progress." Shetani's militia and others operating in the area fought for control over the region's vast mineral resources.

Since the defeat of M 23 this year, the authorities have been appealing to other rebel groups in the east of the country to hand themselves in. Several thousand fighters have complied, but Kinshasa has vowed that sexual violence, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, will not go unpunished.

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