Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including massacres, rape and recruiting child soldiers. And this week the rebel Congolese leader, who is also known as the “Terminator,” walked into the U.S. embassy in Rwanda and asked to be transferred to the ICC. Embassy staff, and officials in Rwanda and Congo were shocked. Ntaganda has successfully avoided capture for about six years.
The conflict in eastern Congo is deep-rooted and, for an outsider, confusing. So we’ve assembled three must-reads (well, one is a “must-listen”) that put Ntaganda into context.
“Tea with the Terminator”
You really won’t find a better story on the Terminator than this Financial Times piece from Katrina Manson, who sat down for tea with Ntaganda in Congo in 2010. Manson happened upon the Terminator when he was the second in command of the Congolese army effort—backed by the UN—to beat back rebel groups in eastern Congo. Back then, Ntaganda told her he had no intention of turning himself into the ICC. She suggests his reversal this week was the result of infighting within his own rebel group, a sign that his life was in danger and heading to the Netherlands was a better option than sticking around.
Terminator gone, so what’s next?
While speculating that Ntaganda may have turned himself in to the U.S embassy because he was no longer being sheltered by the Rwandan government, the BBC highlights the rocky road ahead for those seeking peace in the DRC. Uganda is hosting peace talks between Congo and M23, one of the main rebel groups in eastern Congo, which is in part led by Ntaganda. It’s noteworthy (to say the least) that M23 split last month, which seems to have led to the Terminator turning himself in.
The last thing you need to know
Obviously, the conflict in Congo might feel far away. But there is a very tangible connection to your life. Coincidentally, the day after the Terminator turned himself in, we posted out latest podcast, which dissects how minerals in the heart of the Congolese conflict wend their way into American cell phones and other consumer products. Click play below to listen or download, or subscribe to our podcast.