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Kabila's Position on The Arrest of Ntaganda 'Has Not Changed'

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Congo News Agency - April 13, 2012

President Joseph Kabila with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders on March 27, 2012
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders reportedly urged President Kabila to arrest Ntaganda during a meeting in Kinshasa on March 27, 2012 | Enlarge
Contrary to wire reports widely circulated in the international media, President Joseph Kabila did not call for the immediate arrest of renegade general Bosco Ntaganda during a meeting with civil society leaders in North Kivu Province on Wednesday.

The reports claimed that President Kabila had “called for the arrest” of the former CNDP rebel leader wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes he is said to have committed in northeastern DR Congo between 2002 and 2003.

But an analysis of the audio from Wednesday’s event, made available by UN-backed Radio Okapi, suggests a more nuanced position that may have been misinterpreted.

Speaking in Swahili, President Kabila said “There is someone called General Bosco Ntaganda who is under an international arrest warrant. I am often asked when visiting this region: Why haven’t you transferred Bosco to the ICC yet? I have always given you the same answer. But today, I am going to give you another answer. But my position has not changed yet. With the indiscipline that has occurred here, we do not even need to arrest Bosco Ntaganda and transfer him to the ICC. We can arrest him ourselves. We have more than one hundred reasons to arrest him and put him on trial right here. I am told that the international community’s pressure will continue. Look, I do not work for the international community. We work on behalf of our population from all across Congo and North Kivu. Concretely, when it comes to the indiscipline that we came here to solve, if there is any other case, it will give us a reason to arrest any officers, starting with Bosco and all others.”

The Congolese government has come under increasing pressure to arrest General Ntaganda after the conviction on March 14 of Thomas Lubanga by the ICC. General Ntaganda was a commander in Thomas Lubanga FPLC militia during the Ituri conflict.

Congolese authorities have previously argued that arresting ex-warlord, who was integrated into the Congolese army in 2009 under a peace deal, may cause more harm than good. He is said to have instigated defections of former rebels from the army fearing an arrest.

The move seems to have misfired as the Congolese army deployed reinforcements to the region. Many of the defectors have since surrendered or been arrested while other are still being pursued.

The fate and whereabouts of General Ntaganda remain unclear. He has not been seen or spoken in public since last week.



Audio: President Kabila's message in Swahili

PitieApr 21, 2012 11:31
It is from my deep understanding and for the respect of human dignity that I am very much impressed that Mr.Ntaganda should indeed be arrested since all people who have lost their lives are just like him.Before the law no one is above the other and it should be noted that whoever, will be involved in human rights violation must face the law, be it at the national level or at the international level.
dimandjaApr 17, 2012 11:17
All officers of the Congolese army must vow to protect Congolese people from foreign threats. Why is Ntaganda an exception? And why can't Congo control its own army officers? Why is Rwanda controlling them?
FerdinandApr 16, 2012 07:26
Ntaganda is a war criminal and should be arrested. Even Kabila says so. Furthermore he is causing trouble in the army. How can a "general" stay in the army if he is asking soldiers to rebel> If Kabila does not want to arrest him he should at the very least remove him from the army.
Seshike Uze MmolediApr 13, 2012 02:29
As was said before in Africa we need peace like in any part of the world so if Ntaganda is a general according to a peace deal so let it be, the only thing is he must also play his part when the government is playing its part as he is part of the government and his duty as a high or senior officer in defence is to protect DRC as a sovereignty and its people and respect the constitution of the country as he is also paid by the same state he is trying to be trouble to,for the benefit of peace for the Congolese Ntaganda must act like a general in government force and not a rebel group.

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