DRC warlord accused of crimes against humanity surrenders

2017-07-27 12:51


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kinshasa -Congolese rebel warlord Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, wanted for crimes against humanity including mass rape, surrendered to the UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday.

Sheka was arrested in Mutongo, in the country's North Kivu region by the UN peacekeepers and was "transferred to Goma", the regional capital, his spokesperson said. 

The UN's peacekeeping mission in DRC, Monusco, said in a statement that Sheka handed himself in "in full awareness of the fact that he is wanted by the government... to stand trial for alleged crimes".

Authorities issued the warrant for Sheka's arrest in 2011 after an attack in which the militia under his command and two other groups allegedly raped nearly 400 people in 13 villages between July 30 and August 2, 2010.

His soldiers are accused of razing almost 1 000 homes and businesses and leading about 100 people off into forced labour.

Due to the rape accusations and other acts that could constitute crimes against humanity, Sheka had been subject to UN sanctions including the freezing of his assets and a worldwide travel ban.

Serious risk 

"Thousands of civilians in eastern Congo have been harmed by crimes committed by troops under Sheka's command, and many still fear future attacks," Human Rights Watch (HRW) central Africa director Ida Sawyer said in a statement.

"His surrender brings hope for justice and a possible reprieve from the violence."

Some of the worst attacks by Sheka's forces occurred between August 2012 and November 2013 in and around the town of Pinga.

His Mai Mai fighters abducted dozens of women and girls, many of whom are still being held hostage as sex slaves, HRW said.

He had almost been arrested several times, but has always avoided capture with the help, on at least one occasion, of a tip off from sources inside the Congolese army, HRW said.

The government and UN representatives also met with him on three separate occasions since 2013 to encourage him to surrender and take note of his demands.

Sawyer, for HRW, warned that there was a serious risk that some of Sheka's former collaborators would try to silence him.

"Sheka's chief of staff died under mysterious circumstances in prison following his arrest in 2011," he noted.

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa  |  war crimes

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.