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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Congo warlord flown to The Hague
Germain Katanga (Photo from ICC website)
Germain Katanga is also known as Simba
A Congolese warlord has been flown to the International Criminal Court at The Hague where he is to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Germain Katanga, who led the Forces for Patriotic Resistance (FRPI) in Ituri, was flown from the capital, Kinshasa.

Mr Katanga is the second Congolese militia leader to be sent to The Hague.

The warlord Thomas Lubanga was flown there last year to face charges of recruiting child soldiers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

'More prosecutions'

Prosecutors say Mr Katanga - known as Simba - led the FRPI in Ituri in north-eastern DR Congo in 2003. He was arrested two years ago.

He is accused of murder, sexual enslavement and forcing children under 15 to fight as soldiers.

Judges said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Katanga, 29, led the attack on the village of Bogoro in which 200 civilians were killed.

The prosecution alleges his fighters, which had the support of the Lendu ethnic group, committed atrocities against civilians of the Hema ethnic group in the Ituri region.

Some 15,000 FRPI fighters were demobilised last year.

Fighting in the gold-rich Ituri region broke out in 1999 and continued until 2003.

The war, which began as a struggle for the control of land and resources, deteriorated as arms proliferated and members of the Ugandan army became involved.

This turned a local dispute into an inter-ethnic war that killed an estimated 50,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The BBC's Arnaud Zajtman in DR Congo says the situation in Ituri - where at the time there were six militias - was so complicated that diplomats left the region's leaders out of negotiations that led to the restoration of peace in most of the rest of the country.

As a result massacres in Ituri continued after the peace deal that ended the five-year conflict, he says.

Mr Lubanga is also from Ituri and led the Union of Congolese Patriots. He faces similar charges - as well as genocide.

The ICC's Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the court's investigations in DR Congo continued, but were hampered by the ongoing conflict in the east.

"This is not going to be the last. The prosecutor is in the process of selecting a third case, not necessarily in Ituri," she told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.



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