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U.S. mulls warlord's fate after surprise surrender

KIGALI, Rwanda -- Wanted for alleged war crimes, Bosco Ntaganda lived openly in Congo for years, playing tennis at exclusive clubs and dining at lakeside restaurants in full view of foreign diplomats and UN peacekeepers.

That ended when the 39-year-old warlord known as "The Terminator" suddenly turned himself in Monday to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda and asked to be handed over to the International Criminal Court. The surprise move followed a split in Ntaganda's rebel group and an apparent loss of support from his backers in the Rwandan government.

"My best guess is that his options came down to go to The Hague or be killed," Tony Gambino, the former director of USAID in Congo, said of the about-face by Ntaganda, one of Africa's most-wanted men.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said yesterday that Ntaganda would remain at the Embassy in Kigali while United States officials worked to "facilitate his transfer to The Hague at his own request."

Ntaganda, an ethnic Tutsi, was first indicted in 2006 by the ICC for allegedly building an army of child soldiers during a 2002-03 conflict in Congo's eastern Ituri province. A second arrest warrant issued last July accused him of a range of crimes, including murder, rape, sexual slavery and pillaging. -- AP

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