Nduma Defense of Congo

The Nduma Defense of Congo (French: Nduma défense du Congo or NDC, also known as Mai-Mai Sheka) is a militia that operates in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of the Kivu conflict.[1][2] Mai-Mai groups are militia unique to the eastern DRC, formed ostensibly to defend villages from attacks from Rwandan forces and Rwandan-backed rebel groups. However, Mai-Mai groups have been accused of sexual violence, looting, and fighting all sides including fellow militias, the DRC Army, and the United Nations.[3]

Nduma Defense of Congo
Nduma défense du Congo
Also known asMai-Mai Sheka
LeaderNtabo Ntaberi Sheka (2009-2017)
Mandaima (2017-present)
CountryDemocratic Republic of the Congo
HeadquartersPinga (November 2012 – November 2013)
Buniyampuli (until July 2014)
Active regionsNorth Kivu
Major actionsMass rape, murder, sexual slavery, recruitment of child soldiers
Opponents FARDC
United Nations MONUSCO
Nduma Defense of Congo-Renovated
Battles and warsKivu conflict

The NDC was formed in 2009 by former minerals trader Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, an ethnic Nyanga.[1] Sheka claims the group was formed to liberate the mines of Walikale Territory in North Kivu.[1]

According to the United Nations, Sheka commanded a mass rape of at least 387 women, men, and children over a three-day span in Walikale in 2010.[1][4] This was said to be a punishment for the villagers collaborating with Congo government forces.[4] In 2011, Sheka was added to a United Nations Security Council sanctions list and a warrant was issued for his arrest in the DRC.[2]

On 12 November 2012 Pinga was captured by NDC and remained under its control as of March 2013.[5] In November 2013 NDC withdrew from Pinga and kidnapped dozens of women as sex slaves.[6] In July 2014 armed forces launched offensive against NDC recapturing Kashebere-Walikale road including its stronghold of Buniyampuli.[7]

In 2017, Sheka surrendered to the DRC in North Kivu.[4] On 24 November 2020, a military court has sentenced Sheka to life for war crimes including murder, sexual slavery and child soldier recruitment.[8]

On 23 November 2020, the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) announced on its Twitter account that Sheka has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a military operational Court in DRC.[9]

The UN Security Council has documented numerous cases of the NDC recruiting child soldiers. According to a 2014 report, at least 33 children separated from the group.[10] They said their roles included carrying ammunition and acting as talisman, as well as "combatants, cooks, marijuana farmers and tax collectors."[10] The children were held to the group through a mixture of threats to their family or the payment of $10–12 per month.[10]

A 2014 splinter saw the new group NCD-Renouveau created by former NDC deputy Guidon (or Guido).[10][11]

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