NinjaLaw has already told you about two immigration cases related to the Ninja militia group in the Congo, Mapouya v Gonzales (2007) and Passi v Mukassey (2008). This 2008 Court denies review of a Mr. Ba who seeks witholding of removal after his asylum petition was similarly denied.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
No. 07-4099, 314 Fed. Appx. 773
Petition denied August 20, 2008 in per curiam opinion before Circuit Judges Siler, Batchelder, and Rogers (unpublished):
Ba is a native and citizen of the Republic of the Congo who entered the United States without valid documentation. He and his family are members of the Lari tribe, losers of the country’s most recent civil war. The winners of that war comprise the current Congolese government, which the Laris and the tribe’s militant arm, the Ninjas, had opposed in the war. In March 2004, a group of armed guerillas, who Ba claimed were Ninjas, broke into his father’s store and bound and beat him. They also located Ba in the back of the store and tied him up. While the Ninjas were discussing whether to kill his father, the police arrived and engaged them, creating a diversion that allowed Ba to escape.
Ba fled to Gabon where he arranged to travel to the United States using fraudulent travel documents. Before leaving Gabon for the United States, he learned of the killing of his father, presumably at the hands of the Ninjas.
Ba filed an application for asylum and withholding of removal in December 2004. The IJ denied his application, concluding that he had not suffered persecution. The IJ found no political nexus linking Ba to his father, as there was no indication that his father was targeted because of a political opinion in favor of the government. The IJ viewed the attack on Ba’s father as a criminal extortion effort. Ba was only involved in this attack because he happened to be in the store at the time and he was neither directly targeted nor threatened.
The BIA adopted and affirmed the IJ’s decision, adding that Ba failed to challenge on appeal the IJ’s finding that the Ninjas are a group the government can control and failed to explain his claim that he suffered past persecution.
By failing to raise before the BIA his claim that the government is unable to control the Ninja militia, Ba waived it. Ramani, 378 F.3d at 560.
The Court notes,
The leader of post-ceasefire Ninja operations, Pasteur Ntumi, has disarmed his group and transformed it into a political party, which by Congolese law may neither have weapons nor support militias.
the focus of current Congolese trouble on medical and infrastructure deficiencies and minimize references to post-2003 ceasefire violence, referring to remaining violent entities as “former rebels,” “bandits claiming to be rebels,” and “gangsters,” and suggesting victims are the poor, train passengers, and foreign aid workers.
But I can’t help wonder about the difference between being a rebel and acting under the claim of being a rebel; an interesting distinction. I would think it’s not that different if you are someone they have reason to dislike. I hope Mr. Ba is still ok.