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DR Congo: UN Security Council sanctions 6 over violence

February 21, 2024

The UN Security Council has sanctioned 6 people from armed groups amid escalation between the Congolese government and M23 rebels. The US and France called for Rwanda to stop supporting the group.

Thousands who are fleeing the ongoing conflict between government forces and M-23 rebels reach the entrance the Democratic Republic of Congo eastern city of Goma Wednesday, February 7, 2024
Thousands of civilians have been forced to leave their homes due to the fighting in eastern DRCImage: Moses Sawasawa/AP/picture alliance

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday sanctioned six people belonging to five armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The decision comes amid continued escalation between DRC government forces and M23 rebels. The US and DRC accuse Rwanda of supporting the rebel group.

The DRC is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of mineral wealth, but a history of colonization and foreign involvement has left its people some of the world's poorest.

Explainer: Insecurity in DR Congo

What did the UN Security Council say?

The UN Security Council sanctions committee imposed an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze on two leaders of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one leader from the Twirwaneho group and one from the National People's Coalition for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC).

Also added to the UN list were M23's military spokesperson and a leader from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

"These individuals are responsible for numerous abuses," Deputy US Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, told a Security Council meeting.

Washington also urged the DRC and Rwanda to work toward reducing tensions.

"The United States firmly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC and lasting peace for all Congolese people. Rwanda and the DRC must walk back from the brink of war," Woods said.

Over 1 million displaced

France also said it was "very concerned" about the situation in eastern DRC on Tuesday.

"We call on Rwanda to cease all support for the M23 and to withdraw from Congolese territory," Paris said, calling for a regional mediation process.

Amnesty International called for an immediate halt to "deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians in fighting between M23 and government forces."

Fighting resumed last month around the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, after months of relative calm.

Clashes have left at least 35 civilians dead and hundreds wounded, according to Amnesty's regional director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah. He said that over a million people are now in and around Goma after fleeing the fighting.

"Thousands of civilians are again being caught between crossfire and are desperate for humanitarian assistance," he said.

sdi/ab (AFP, Reuters)