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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 17:33 GMT
DR Congo warlord at The Hague
Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui
Col Ngudjolo allegedly told his men to "wipe out" the village
A ex-rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo has appeared at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on war crimes allegations.

Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, now a colonel in the Congolese army, was arrested and flown to the Netherlands last week.

Prosecutors allege he planned a brutal attack by his National Integrationist Front (FNI) fighters on Bogoro village in eastern Ituri region in 2003.

He is the third Congolese warlord to be sent to The Hague.

But his lawyer asked for the trial to be dismissed, because his client had already been acquitted of similar charges by a Congolese court.

The court will decide on whether he is being charged when it reconvenes in May.

Child soldiers

Prosecutors say Col Ngudjolo ordered his fighters to "wipe out" the village of Bogoro, reports the AFP news agency.

Map

Some 200 civilians were murdered in the attack on 24 February 2003.

Col Ngudjolo's arrest warrant lists nine counts:

• Three counts of crimes against humanity including murder, inhumane acts and sexual slavery

• Six counts of war crimes including the use of children soldiers.

Prosecutors allege the Bogoro attack - committed together with the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI) group - was part of a systematic campaign in 2003 directed against Ituri's ethnic Hema people by the majority Lendu community.

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

The BBC's Mark Doyle says the conflict in Ituri manifests itself as an ethnic war, but its root cause is the criminal mining of the region's gold and other minerals.

An estimated 50,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless.

Under a peace deal, several Congolese militias have disarmed and been integrated into the national army.



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