Monusco hands over armed group leader Sheka to Congolese authorities
CONGO- Reports reaching from Congo has it that Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, leader of the armed group Nduma Defense of Congo (NDC), has been transferred on Friday, 4th of August to Kinshasa. Following the transfer, he was handed over by MONUSCO to the Congolese judicial authorities. According to reports, Sheka has been under MONUSCO supervision in Goma since his surrender on 26th of July.
Congo Authority reported that Sheka was accompanied by two alleged NDC combatants who also surrendered and are subject to judicial warrants of arrest for crimes against humanity including rape and child recruitment. The individuals will be detained, awaiting trial, in a location where MONUSCO will have access to ensure that relevant international human rights standards are observed.
The United Nations, through the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, called on the DRC government to “take all necessary measures to ensure that Sheka is promptly tried in adherence to basic standards of due process and that the charges against him appropriately correspond to all the crimes committed.”
Sheka surrendered to MONUSCO in the village of Mutongo about ten kilometers north of Walikale in full knowledge of the fact that he is the subject of an arrest warrant and will be brought to justice. Sheka has been wanted since 2011 by the Congolese justice system for crimes against humanity, including mass rape and child recruitment.
NDC fighters are alleged to have raped almost 400 civilians, including 300 women, 23 men and 61 children, in 13 villages on the Kibua-Mpofi axis in the Walikale (North Kivu) between 30 July and 2 August 2010. United Nations have also documented the alleged recruitment of at least 154 children by this rebel group.
“Sheka’s surrender is a positive sign. A fair trial would be a significant step in the fight against impunity and a victory for victims of abuses by armed groups who have the right to justice”, said Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC.
Correspondent: Ridwan A Olayiwola