The good news coming out of Africa today is that Rwanda has arrested General Laurent Nkuda, and is planning to turn him over to the DRCongo so that he can be prosecuted for war crimes.

Human Rights Watch noted in January 2006:

“An arrest warrant was issued against Nkunda for war crimes, crimes against humanity and insurrection months ago but the police and army have done nothing about arresting him,” said Alison Des Forges, senior advisor to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. “So long as Nkunda is at large, the civilian population remains at grave risk.”

Since then, his troops have been busy spreading horror to the people he claims he is trying to protect:

The CNDP launched a major offensive in August 2008, which displaced more than a quarter of a million people in North Kivu and raised fears of both a humanitarian crisis and a wider regional war.

Nkunda, although born in the DRCongo, became involved with the Tutsi rebels, who eventually took over Rwanda after the genocide there.

He originally claimed his army and action were “protecting” local Tutsis, but outside observers suggest his claims were exaggerated, while his troops were guilty of atrocities.

Apparantly, even the Tutsi run government of Rwanda had enough of his egomania, and arrested him. Now the question is if they will turn “the Butcher of Kisangani ” over to the DRCongo to be tried for war-crimes.

He is one of the warlords behind a very nasty genocidal war in the Lake region of Africa that has left at least five million dead in it’s wake.

The UN and local governments are trying to eliminate the various war lords in these remote areas, and to integrate their troops into the national armies. Nkunda however has refused to do this.

The war in the Lake regions has been flaring on and off for decades, but there have been tiny steps in trying to stop the war, including the 17000 UN peacekeepers  and various aid agencies, all of whom are trying to protect the civilians.

All seem happy about the arrest.

Except for one large and wealthy NGO:

“Congo Warlord’s Arrest Puts Gorillas’ Future in Turmoil” writes Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News


The political future of the Democratic Republic of the Congo‘s Virunga National Park—home to about 200 of the world’s roughly 680 mountain gorillas—was thrown into turmoil Thursday night with the arrest of Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.

Nkunda’s rebel movement had held sway over much of the region in which Virunga is located since August 2007.

After a 15-month-long absence, the rangers were able to return in November 2008 after the park’s director, Emmanuel de Merode, struck a deal directly with Nkunda to allow his rangers to resume their work..

In an interview last month with National Geographic News in Bunagana, Nkunda talked extensively about his plans to safeguard the gorillas and develop Virunga National Park as a tourist destination.

So there you have it.

He might be a genocidal murderous war lord who kidnaps schoolboys to fight in his army, and who is partly responsible for a war that has killed several million people, but he is their genocidal murderous warlord.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs about Africa at MakaipaBlog.

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