Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, also known as Mathieu Ngudjolo or Cui Cui Ngudjolo, was born on 8 October 1970 in Bunia, in the district of Ituri, a province located in the north east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Believed to be of Lendu ethnicity, he is married and father of two children.
Early on, he took up a military career and became corporal in the Zairian armed forces (FAZ) of the former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. When the war broke out in 1996, he deserted from the FAZ, which were swept away, within eight months, by a Congolese rebellion supported by Rwanda. For a period of four years, he successfully completed training to be a nurse in Bunia. In 2003, Ngudjolo was appointed to be one of the three top leaders of the Allied Forces of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) and of the FRPI (Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri). (All above are French acronyms)
At the end of 2003, he was arrested by the United Nations on charges of murdering the driver of a taxi-motor bike in Bunia. He was released in 2004 for lack of evidence.
In June 2005, he co-founded and took the head of the Congolese Revolutionary Movement (MRC), a militia which continued to sow terror in Ituri. In July 2006, he signed a peace agreement with Kinshasa, promising to demobilize his troops in exchange for a general amnesty. He was appointed Colonel of the FARDC (Armed Forces of the RDC) in December 2006, and left Ituri in November 2007 to follow a military training center for officers in Kinshasa, where he was arrested on 6 February 2008.
Between January 2002 and December 2003, over 8’000 civilians died and more than half a million persons were displaced from their home in Ituri as a consequence of the armed conflict between the FNI and other armed militias in the region of Ituri. From January 2003 up until at least March 2003, the FNI and the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI) reportedly carried out attacks – in a systematic or widespread manner – against the civilian population of certain parts of Ituri.
As the highest ranking commander of the FNI, Mathieu Ngudjolo was said to have played an essential role in the planning and the implementation of an indiscriminate attack against the village of Bogoro in Ituri, on or around 24 February 2003, together with other commanders of the FRPI. He was also believed to have ordered his subordinates to carry out this attack.
On the morning of 24 February 2003, members of Ngudjolo’s militia allegedly entered the village of Bogoro and launched an indiscriminate attack, targeting mainly civilian members of the Hema ethnic group. It was alleged that the FNI had children under the age of fifteen actively participate in this attack during which at least 200 civilians perished. Moreover, the ones who survived the initial attack were reportedly locked in a building where the dead bodies were piled up. Furthermore, many of the women and young girls were abducted and turned into sex-slaves.
On 6 February 2008, Ngudjolo, who was under military training in Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of Congo, was arrested in Kinshasa by the Congolese authorities and transferred the following day to the detention centre of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.