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Ngudjolo Helped a Woman Give Birth on Day of Bogoro Attack, Witnesses Say

This report covers testimony from August 29 to September 16, 2011 in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.

During this reporting period, the Ngudjolo defense team called the remaining fact-based witnesses, who were called to testify on behalf of Ngudjolo. The team might also call an expert witness, in addition to calling Mathieu Ngudjolo himself.

The witnesses included Chief Manu, a central witness for the Ngudjolo defense and a prominent figure from Zumbe, Ngudjolo’s village. Other witnesses included co-workers from the health center where Ngudjolo worked, the father of a witness who testified for the Prosecution, and a man who claimed Ngudjolo assisted in the birth of his son on the morning of the February 24, 2003 attack on Bogoro.

Katanga, alleged leader of the FRPI (Ituri Patriotic Resistance Force/Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri) and Ngudjolo, alleged leader of the FNI (The Nationalist and Integrationist Front/Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes), are on trial for crimes committed during the Bogoro attack.

The Ngudjolo defense seems to be focusing largely on Ngudjolo’s whereabouts on the day of the attack as well as his role as a nurse—not a soldier. Witnesses have testified that he was at the health center helping a woman give birth on the morning of the Bogoro attack. Witnesses have also claimed that he was not involved in or the leader of the Zumbe self-defense group.

Witnesses who testified during this period include:

  • Witness 88 – Emmanuel Ngabu Mandro, also known as Chief Manu
  • Witness 100
  • Witness 410 – Ngabu Gokpa Isakara
  • Witness 963 – Jeanne Mariana
  • Witness 965 – Richard Longa Linjukpa

Their testimony is discussed in more detail below. There will be no trial from September 19 – 26, 2011. Trial will resume on September 27 with the testimony of accused Germain Katanga, to be followed by the testimony of accused Mathieu Ngudjolo.

Witness 88 – Emmanuel Ngabu Mandro, also known as Chief Manu

Chief Manu, who was Chief in Zumbe during the conflict in Ituri, continued his testimony about the events in Zumbe during 2002 and 2003 (the first part of Chief Manu’s testimony is discussed here.  He testified that refugees fleeing from the war came to Zumbe, including people of Hema ethnicity.

“We felt that a Hema civilian was not a soldier, so we had Hema civilians in my place,” he explained.

He also testified that soldiers from the Congolese Popular Army (APC) had been stationed nearby and spent a few days in Zumbe. According to the witness, the APC commander wanted Chief Manu to send young people to help the APC attack Bogoro, so that they could go to Gety. Chief Manu testified that he refused to send people from his village.

The witness testified that although young people from the area protected and defended the village from attacks, these young people never had any military training. He also emphasized that by “young people” he meant people who were over 18 years of age but not old men. He denied outright that there were child soldiers in the Bedu-Ezekere groupement in 2002 – 2003.

When asked whether children take part in war in the Lendu culture, Chief Manu replied that it was forbidden.

“If a child dies in battle, the chief, the traditional chief will be accused, and the Lendu are very strict about that. It is forbidden.”

The witness testified that the defense group primarily used arrows as weapons, and obtained a few firearms from enemy soldiers.

They never left their area to go fight, he testified.

“If we had decided to go to Bogoro, people from Mandro or Bunia would have attacked us… so we monitored the situation because we knew that if we went to attack, another group could come and attack us and finish us off. So we decided never to leave our area,” he said.

Before the February attack on Bogoro, the witness said, there was a meeting in Beni. Chief Manu said he attended the meeting as a part of a delegation that also included Germain Katanga. He claimed that there were discussions about who should lead the delegation, him, or Katanga.

Chief Manu said that he had been invited by the RCD-K/ML (RCD-Kisangani/Movement for Liberation). He said that during the flight home, he witnessed burning in large areas of Zumbe and Lagura, and so requested ammunition from Katanga in order to prepare for his return to the war in Zumbe.

Turning to the attack on Bogoro, Chief Manu said that the fog and clouds were so thick on that day they could not see what was happening in Bogoro. Although they could hear explosions, they did not know where the attack was taking place, he testified.

Chief Manu testified that he had forbidden anyone from leaving the Zumbe locality, and denied that anyone would have disobeyed him to leave and join the fighting. He testified that because of his authority, no one would have disobeyed him.

The witness testified that he received a letter from the UPDF (Ugandan People’s Defense Force) warning him that the UPC (the Union of Congolese Patriots/Union des Patriotes Congolais, led by Thomas Lubanga) was planning to attack Dele, Zumbe and Bogoro. Chief Manu said that in response, he moved the population to Bunia and helped support the UPDF fight the UPC.

On March 6, 2003, he said, there was an attack on Bunia. He said that the FNI arrived on March 18, 2003 to help restore order.

Ngudjolo was also in Bunia during the attack, the witness said. However, Ngudjolo was not the commander of the FNI at the time of the Bogoro attack or the Bunia attack, Chief Manu testified. The witness said that Ngudjolo was a nurse at the Zumbe health center, and therefore not in a position to give orders.

Chief Manu said that Ngudjolo did not become the leader of the FNI until after March 18, 2003, about a month after the attack on Bogoro. At that time, he “reached an agreement” with the FNI, and stayed in Bunia as its leader.

On cross-examination, the witness admitted that the delegation traveling to Beni, which included Germain Katanga, also included children carrying firearms.

Also on cross-examination, the witness asserted that there was no commander of the Zumbe self-defense committee, explaining that the traditional chiefs had total authority.

Chief Manu also testified about a meeting in Beni between Lendu and Ngiti commanders. The witness testified that he was told that at this meeting, it was decided to take over Bogoro to cut off the contacts between the UPC and UPDF and end the fighting. He said that at this meeting, Katanga was given a large sum of money and ammunition in order to attack Bogoro.

During questioning by the Legal Representatives for Victims, the witness denied that he had seen or heard of children less than 15 years old carrying weapons during the relevant time. Although the representative for child soldiers vigorously questioned the witness about the issue, the witness continuously denied that there were child soldiers in his community.

Chief Manu, like other witnesses before him, testified that children took advantage of the demobilization centers in order to obtain the benefits of demobilizing ($100, Chief Manu claimed), even though they were not child soldiers. He testified that parents would encourage their children to take part in the process in order to receive the benefits.

Responding to a question from the Presiding Judge, the witness testified that there were more than 500 young people in the local defense groups. 

Witness 100

Witness 100 testified with protective measures. The witness was the father of “Baudouin,” a witness for the Prosecution (“Baudouin” is a pseudonym, as the Prosecution witness also enjoyed protective measures).

Witness 100 testified that his son did not live at home with him and his wife in Zumbe, but had been living in the Walendu-Bindi collectivity. He said that in 2002 – 2003, Baudouin was studying and helping on their farm, and was not working for Ngudjolo.

Witness 100 testified that his son disappeared in 2006. He did not learn that Baudouin had testified for the Prosecution until 2009.

When he learned that Baudouin had testified for the Prosecution, he became very afraid, he said. There was a conflict between his family and the Ngudjolo family, and he was encouraged to testify for Ngudjolo by the Ngudjolo Defense team investigator as a way to rectify the situation.

He said that when the child returned, Baudouin was aggressive and acted strangely. The witness testified that he was very frightened by the child, and was afraid that he might have a gun and could kill them.

Much of this witness’ testimony was in closed session.

Witness 410 – Ngabu Gokpa Isakara

A pastor at the SECA20 Church, Ngabu testified that he was in Kathonie working with another church during the time of the attack on Bogoro.  Although he had heard about the attack, he was not present, the witness testified.

Witness 410 was called to refute the testimony of one of the participating victims who testified, Victim 2 (her testimony is reported here.  She had testified that a former colleague of her parents had said that Katanga and Ngudjolo were training people from their areas, and that they were responsible for the attack on Bogoro.

Witness 410, the “former colleague” who testified that he had worked with the witness’ father on the construction of his house in Bogoro in 2000, admitted that he had discussed the security situation of Bogoro with the witness’ father at the time.

Witness 963 – Jeanne Mariana (aka “Mama Jeanne”)

Jeanne Mariana was a midwife who was born in Bogoro, but fled because of the war in 2001. She testified that she had worked with Ngudjolo in the Kambutso health center.

The witness testified that around 4:00 a.m. on February 24, 2003, a woman was brought to the clinic who was having a difficult birth. Mariana testified that the woman was not moving, and that she would need assistance for the birth. The witness called Ngudjolo for help, she testified. She said they worked together at the health center until about 6:00 a.m. She testified that Ngudjolo then stayed in the hospital for the rest of the day.

Mariana stated that Ngudjolo left the clinic after the attack on Bunia in March 2003.

Witness 965 – Richard Longa Linjukpa

Linjukpa testified that Ngudjolo had helped deliver his child on February 24, 2003. The witness said that he had taken his wife to the Kambutso health center, because she was having problems with the delivery. At the health center, he said, Mama Jeanne called Ngudjolo to help with the delivery. Linjukpa testified that Ngudjolo and Jeanne helped his wife deliver the baby, working until about 10:00 a.m., when the baby died, the witness said. The witness took the body home for a burial while the mother stayed in the hospital. Ngudjolo was still at the hospital when the witness left at 10:00 a.m., he testified.