Central African Republic extradites ex-militia leader 'Rambo'

Elias Hubbard
November 18, 2018

Yekatom, a sitting MP once nicknamed "Rambo", was flown out of the country and arrived in the court's detention center in the Hague in the early hours of Sunday, officials there said.

Mr Yekatom was elected as an MP in 2016, despite being subject to United Nations sanctions.

"We can not undo the suffering that has been inflicted on victims, but we remain committed to doing our part.to advance justice and accountability in the Central African Republic", Bensouda added.

In 2015, he became the target of U.S. sanctions for suspected attacks against Muslims, civilian deaths and for using 153 child fighters.

The court said Yekatom would make his first appearance before judges "in due course", when he will be asked if he understands the charges and his rights.

"It's a strong message to the leaders of armed groups", said Pierre Brunisso from the International Federation of Human Rights watchdog.

The court alleges that Yekatom commanded some 3,000 anti-Balaka fighters responsible for atrocities committed between December 2013 and August 2014 in the capital, Bangui, and other locations.

Sectarian violence continues to grip the vehicle, with almost 40 people dying in clashes on Friday in the centre of the country.

A war crimes suspect wanted for alleged murder, deportation and torture of Muslims in the Central African Republic has been handed over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the tribunal said.

The UN said the group had attacked Gbambia in mid-June.

Meanwhile, the priest's charred body was recovered in the central town of Alindao, Father Mathieu Bondobo, vicar-general of the main cathedral in Bangui, told AFP. "Thousands" were forced to flee.

The bloodletting began Thursday when Christian militiamen killed Muslims, prompting revenge attacks during which a church was set ablaze.

Thousands have died and a fifth of Central African Republic's 4.5 million population have fled their homes in a conflict that broke out after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka militias.

In response, Christians, who account for about 80 percent of the population, organized vigilante units dubbed "anti-balaka".

The government controls only a small part of CAR's national territory. About 13,000 United Nations peacekeepers are deployed in the country at a cost of almost $900m (£686m) per year in the mission known as Minusca.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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