UN plans to sanction DR Congo rebels | News | DW | 20.10.2012

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UN plans to sanction DR Congo rebels

The UN Security Council has announced plans to sanction M23 rebel leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It extended the warning to those who support the movement, in an implicit threat to Rwanda and Uganda.

The UN Security Council intends to impose sanctions on the movement's leaders and those found to be supporting them, according to a statement the council unanimously adopted on Friday.

"The Security Council expresses its intention to apply targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo," the 15-member council said in the statement.

In a report leaked this week, UN experts charged that Rwanda and Uganda have been arming and supporting M23 rebels. The report also claimed that Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe is commanding the insurgency in the east of the country.

Seasoned fighters

The M23 rebels include members of former fighters from an ethnic Tutsi rebel movement who were integrated into the Congolese military in a 2009 peace deal. The M23 rebels quit the army this year in protest over salaries and poor conditions.

The rebels took up arms in April, expanding their control over parts of North Kivu province. The UN experts' report said the rebels did so with financing from Rwandan businessmen trading in smuggled Congolese minerals.

Uganda and Rwanda, meanwhile, have denied the accusations by UN experts, who monitor compliance with sanctions and an arms embargo on the Congo.

Nearly half a million people have been displaced as a result of the fighting.

tm/ccp (AP, AFP, Reuters)