One of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s most notorious warlords Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka on Wednesday surrendered to United Nations peacekeepers, in the country’s North Kivu province, the UN mission in Congo said.
Sheka has been wanted since 2011 under a national warrant for crimes against humanity, including for mass rapes.
His militia, Mai-Mai Sheka, is one of a patchwork of armed groups in eastern Congo regularly accused by the UN and rights groups of using rape as a weapon of war.
The UN mission in Congo -MONUSCO says Sheka turned himself in after six years on the run, and was transferred to the eastern city of Goma.
Eastern Congo has been plagued by a myriad of armed rebels since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Human Rights Watch Central Africa director Ida Sawyer said Sheka’s surrender brings hope for justice and a reprieve from violence.
“Thousands of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been affected by crimes committed by forces under Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka’s command, and many still fear the next attack,” AP reports her to say said.
“His surrender today brings hope for justice and a reprieve from the violence. Congolese authorities, with support from the United Nations, should ensure Sheka’s safety in detention and promptly bring him to justice in a fair and credible trial,” she added.