Bosco Ntaganda is believed to have been born in 1973, of Rwandan nationality and Tutsi descent. He fought with the Rwandan Patriotic Army during the 1994 genocide. He was former Deputy Chief of General Staff for Military Operations of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo (FPLC), the military wing of the UPC (Union of Congolese Patriots).
The UPC was created in 2000 and was accused of massacring civilians in 2002 in the Mongbwalu and Ituri districts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), resulting in the displacement of over 100,000 civilians. The UPC was also involved in the practice of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, former Commander-in-chief of the FPLC, allegedly appointed Bosco Ntaganda as the UPC's Army Chief of Staff on 8 December 2003.
Bosco Ntaganda was the primary recruiter of fighters in Ituri, reporting directly to Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. He was accused of using his authority to implement the FPLC policy of enlistment and conscription of children under the age of 15 and of using them to participate actively in hostilities in Ituri (DRC), between July 2002 and December 2003. Ntaganda was also accused of having de jure and de facto authority over the FPLC training camps for child soldiers at Bule, Cantrale, Mandro, Rwampara, Irumu, Bogoro and Sota. He was further accused of taking part in FPLC attacks when the group used child soldiers.
In 2002 UPC soldiers under Ntaganda’s command were reportedly involved in the killing of Lendu and Ngiti civilians in the towns of Songolo, Bunia and Mongbwalu.
He was arrested in Kinshasa in 2002 but was later released in exchange for government minister Ntumba Luaba who was being held captive by Chief Kahwa Mandro, an Ituri militia leader.
He was appointed General in the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) in December 2004 but refused to accept the promotion.
The authorities in the DRC issued an arrest warrant for Ntaganda in April 2005, after he had been accused of committing torture, murder, illegal detention and arbitrary arrest. Ntaganda also was said to have been involved in incidents involving peacekeepers in 2004, namely the kidnapping of a Moroccan and the murder of a Kenyan peacekeeper. There were also implications of his involvement in the killing of two aid workers in the DRC.
After leaving the army in 2006, Ntaganda reportedly became Chief of Staff of the National Council for the Defense of the People. The group, known by its French acronym CNDP, is the political wing of the militia led by Laurent Nkunda in the North and South Kivu provinces of Congo.
An arrest warrant was initially issued against Ntaganda on 22 August 2006 by the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but was kept under seal due to the risk of Bosco Ntaganda fleeing or obstructing the work of the Court.
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