Bottom Line: As the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) escalates, the surrender to international authorities of a key Congolese general linked to M23 rebels will reshape the playing field in favor of M23 commander General Sultani Makenga and strengthen the rebels by removing a key rivalry that has led to in-fighting. It will also to some extent redefine the playing field for minerals, oil and gas.
Analysis: Bosco Ntaganda turned himself in to the US Embassy in Rwanda on 18 March, saying he was surrendering to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ntaganda is wanted by the ICC for two decades of crimes against humanity for charges ranging from recruiting child soldiers, to rape and murder. Ntaganda is a leader of the M23 rebels (backed by Rwanda and Uganda) which have launched an insurgency in DRC, seizing Goma in North Kivu province late last year. The past two weeks have seen the rivalry within the M23 heat up, and last weekend, hundreds of M23 rebels from Ntaganda’s camp fled across the border into Rwanda after being defeated by a rival M23 faction led by General Sultani Makenga. Ntaganda—a key mineral smuggler—was a specific target of DRC President Joseph Kabila. Ntaganda had been “integrated” into the DRC army under a 2009 peace deal, which he then betrayed. However, the surrender of Ntaganda will only boost M23’s power and help it to solidify its leadership under General Makenga. (Neither Rwanda nor the US is under obligation to turn Ntaganda over to the ICC, as neither is a signatory to this body).
Recommendations: Steer clear of DRC mining investments for now as the playing field is being redefined and new gatekeepers will emerge as this continues to unfold.