The Security Council has voted to sanction Congo rebels. On Tuesday, M23 fighters encountered no resistance from UN or Congolese troops when they seized the city of Goma in the country's eastern region.
The resolution, adopted unanimously on Tuesday night, imposes targeted sanctions on the M23 leadership. It also called for an immediate end to external aid to the rebels and asked the UN secretary-general to report on allegations of foreign support. The Security Council has announced that it will take measures as necessary.
A UN spokesman said that the nearly 1,500 peacekeepers stationed in Goma did not resist M23's advance to avoid combat in the city of 1 million. The spokesman said a UN force commander on the ground made the decision.
M23's spokesperson also confirmed the reports.
"Despite the attack helicopters, despite the heavy weapons, the FARDC [Congo national army] has let the town fall into our hands," M23 spokesperson Colonel Vianney Kazarama told the news agency Reuters by telephone on Tuesday.
Uganda's president said he planned to try to broker a meeting between the leaders of Congo and Rwanda on Wednesday. The Democratic Republic of Congo has accused its neighbor of backing the rebels. Rwandan leaders have denied the charge and called for dialogue.
Though conflict has proved a constant in east Congo, Goma's fall represents a significant step for the rebels since occupying armies pulled out under peace deals at the end of the 1998-2003 war. Aid agencies estimate that 5 million people have died from fighting and conflict-related disease since that war began 14 years ago.
mkg/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP)