Congolese war criminal Bosco 'The Terminator' Ntaganda unexpectedly turns himself in at US embassy in Rwanda

 

One of Africa's most wanted war criminals walked into the United States embassy in Rwanda today and asked to be transferred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The US said it was “considering his request” after Bosco Ntaganda, nicknamed the “Terminator” appeared on their doorstep in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

Mr Ntaganda appears to have fled his base in Eastern Congo and sought refuge at the US embassy after a recent split in the armed rebellion of which he has been a commander. One faction of the M23 rebels, who are in peace talks with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is believed to be close to a peace deal and has been openly battling with fighters loyal to the indicted war crimes suspect. Mr Ntaganda's followers fled across the border into Rwanda in recent days as a rival faction took control of M23.

News of his “surrender” as Rwanda's Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo termed it on her Twitter account, surprised diplomats in Kigali.

“He's a man with few options,” said one Western diplomat. “He may have seen this as his safest course of action.”

The US will now have to decide whether to transfer the former general in the Congolese army to The Hague, or whether to hand him over to the authorities in the DRC. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland tonight confirmed that he had walked into their embassy of his own free will: "He specifically asked to be transferred to the ICC in the Hague,” she told reporters. “We are currently consulting with a number of governments, including the Rwandan government, in order to facilitate his request."

It is not known how long he had been in Rwanda but a witness in Kigali claimed they saw him pull up at the embassy in a taxi.

Born in Rwanda but having grown up in neighbouring Congo, Mr Ntaganda faces a litany of charges at The Hague, including recruiting child soldiers, sex slavery, murder and pillaging. The ICC issued arrest warrants against him in 2006 over crimes related to crimes committed in Eastern Congo in 2002-2003. He has since been named in a number of UN reports detailing the recruitment of child soldiers and attacks on the civilian population while serving in both the Congolese army and at least two armed rebellions.

Mr Ntaganda has been at the heart of a regional battle for control of resource-rich Eastern Congo in which ethnic Tutsi military commanders – with the backing of Rwanda and Uganda – have vied for control with the weak and corrupt Congolese army, the FARDC. Previous peace deals, such as the one in 2008 which ended a Tutsi-led movement calling itself the CNDP, have tended to fold rebel leaders back into the FARDC. The former warlord and CNDP Laurent Nkunda has been living in Rwanda since that deal under a loose form of house arrest.

The M23 movement which announced itself last year was led by former CNDP commanders who claimed that the peace deal had not been honoured.

With support from the Rwandan army – detailed in a UN report last year to the Security Council – the M23 quickly overwhelmed the Congolese army and UN peacekeepers and briefly occupied the regional aid and trading hub of Goma. The rebels have since withdrawn and endured a bitter split with one faction led by Mr Ntaganda and the other by his long-time rival Sultan Makengi. Mr Makengi is believed to be amenable to a peace deal with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, with talks being held in neighbouring Uganda.

Rwanda has hotly denied UN accusations that it had “command and control” of the M23 but the evidence was strong enough to persuade several Western governments including Britain to withhold development aid, which amounts to 40 percent of the country's national budget.

That aid has recently resumed as Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has cooperated in the regional peace process.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape