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Central African Republic extradites ex-militia leader ‘Rambo’

Soldiers arresting Alfred Yekatom

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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.

He will stand trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Alfred Yekatom was known as “Rambo” when he led a Christian militia in sectarian conflict after Muslim rebels seized power in 2013.

Violence in the country continues and nearly 40 people died in clashes there on Friday.

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 burnt to death in a central town, and the UN said thousands of people were forced to flee violence.

Mr Yekatom’s alleged crimes go back to late 2013 and early 2014.

He led a Christian militia that operated in the south of the country, in a backlash against the country’s Muslim minority seizing power.

The ICC said Mr Yekatom was responsible for murder, torture, attacking civilians and using child fighters.

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 against impunity.

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.

The conflict in Central African Republic

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  • 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

Central African Republic extradites ex-militia leader ‘Rambo’

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