Africa

Central African Republic extradites ex-militia leader 'Rambo'

Soldiers arresting Alfred Yekatom Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Yekatom (C) was arrested last month by members of the armed services

An MP and former militia leader in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been extradited to The Hague to face trial for crimes against humanity.

Alfred Yekatom arrived at the International Criminal Court (ICC) detention centre on Saturday.

The ICC alleges he was responsible for murder, torture, attacking civilians and using child fighters.

Mr Yekatom, known as "Rambo", led a Christian militia which formed after Muslim rebels seized power in 2013.

The group formed part of a band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, which rose up to counter the rebels.

The allegations against Mr Yekatom, which include war crimes, date back to late 2013 and early 2014.

Mr Yekatom was elected as an MP in 2016, despite being subject to UN sanctions.

He was arrested last month when he fired a gun in parliament, then ran away, after a row with a fellow MP.

This is the first extradition to the court from the CAR. The International Federation for Human Rights (known by its French acronym FIDH) said it signalled the authorities were committed to fighting impunity.

Sectarian violence continues to grip the CAR, with nearly 40 people dying in clashes on Friday in the centre of the country.

Meanwhile, a UN peacekeeper died of injuries he received in a gunfight during an attack on a base in the west of the country. A priest was also burnt to death in a central town, and the UN said thousands of people were forced to flee violence.


The conflict in Central African Republic

Image copyright AFP
  • In 2013, Muslim militias called the Seleka seized power in Central African Republic
  • Largely Christian fighters known as the anti-Balaka took up arms to fight back
  • More than a million people have since been displaced by continued fighting, and thousands killed
  • About 13,000 United Nations peacekeepers are deployed in the country at a cost of nearly $900m (£686m) per year in the mission known as Minusca

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