They cut open pregnant women’s bellies after a bet over the baby’s gender; here are Africa’s 5 heartless rebel leaders

November 13, 2019 at 10:30 am | Opinions & Features

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

November 13, 2019 at 10:30 am | Opinions & Features

JOSEPH KONY, PHOTOGRAPHED IN SOUTHERN SUDAN IN 2006. PHOTO: STUART PRICE/AFP/GETTY

The International Criminal Court earlier this month handed its longest sentence ever. The ICC slapped Bosco Ntaganda, a dreaded former Congolese rebel leader, with a 30-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It followed his conviction on 18 counts including murder, rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers.

Popularly known as “Terminator”, Ntaganda becomes the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery by the ICC and overall the fourth person the court has convicted since its creation in 2002.

Africa’s brutal conditions created some of the most feared rebel leaders or warlords depending on how you want to characterize them. The Continent’s impulsive political, religious and ethnic environment gave birth to several rebels who “seem especially uninterested in winning converts, content instead to steal other people’s children, stick Kalashnikovs or axes in their hands, and make them do the killing,” writes Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa bureau chief for the New York Times in an article titled: Africa’s Forever Wars.

For Gettleman when one looks closely at some of the continent’s most intractable conflicts, from the rebel-laden creeks of the Niger Delta to the inferno in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “this is what you will find.”

“What we are seeing is the decline of the classic African liberation movement and the proliferation of something else — something wilder, messier, more violent, and harder to wrap our heads around. If you’d like to call this war, fine. But what is spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic is actually just opportunistic, heavily armed banditry,” writes Gettleman.

Violence is a means to the end for these rebels who are the creation of the continent’s brutish conditions. They committed some of the world’s worst atrocities and human abuses of our time and in this article Face2Face Africa looks at five of them.

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