South Asia and Beyond

UN Security Council Sanctions 6 Rebel Leaders in Congo

 UN Security Council Sanctions 6 Rebel Leaders in Congo

The UNSC has sanctioned six people for what it has called “destabilising activities in Congo.” According to a report in Africa News these five people belong to various armed groups in the country.

“These individuals are responsible for numerous abuses,” U.S. Deputy U.N. Ambassador Robert Wood said. “But to counter the flow of funds and arms to those who fuel conflict in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo], sanctions need to be kept up-to-date and fully implemented.”

Fighting has erupted last month between the Congolese Army (FARDC) and the M23 rebel group in the country’s North Kivu province which has led to approximately two and a million people seeking refuge in the capital Goma. According to an Al Jazeera report the situation is rapidly slipping out of hand in the capital too, as the rebels have shelled the airport in the capital city.

The battle also includes other armed groups who are also fighting each other in various parts of the country.

According to an AFP report, the UN has so far appealed for $2.6 billion to assist Congolese displaced in the fighting. Malnutrition, cholera, and measles are on the rise as the country’s food supply chains have been severely affected. It also warns that the situation is only likely to get worse.

“Since 28 January, fighting between the M23 and the FARDC has intensified in several areas, and the M23 has expanded further south, leading to further displacement of populations towards Goma and South Kivu,” said Bintu Keita, the head of the U.N. mission in Congo, MONUSCO.

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The situation is further complicated by the fact that neighbouring Rwanda is supporting the M23 rebel group. According to an AP report Rwanda so far has not admitted to doing so.

The US State Department has come down heavily Rwanda. In a statement on Saturday, it said: “The United States strongly condemns the worsening violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) caused by the actions of the Rwanda-backed, U.S.- and UN-sanctioned M23 armed group, including its recent incursions into the town of Sake.

This escalation has increased the risk to millions of people already exposed to human rights abuses including displacement, deprivation, and attacks.  We call on M23 to immediately cease hostilities and withdraw from its current positions around Sake and Goma, and in accordance with the Luanda and Nairobi processes.”

The statement also called on Rwanda “to immediately withdraw all Rwanda Defense Force personnel from the DRC and remove its surface-to-air missile systems, which threaten the lives of civilians, UN and other regional peacekeepers, humanitarian actors, and commercial flights in eastern DRC.”

In response, the Rwandan foreign ministry said in a statement that it was not able to do so as the “dramatic military buildup” by Congolese forces was a threat to Rwanda’s security. Rwanda also accused members of the Congolese army of committing genocide.

Ashwin Ahmad

Traveller, bibliophile and wordsmith with a yen for international relations. A journalist and budding author of short fiction, life is a daily struggle to uncover the latest breaking story while attempting to be Hemingway in the self-same time. Focussed especially on Europe and West Asia, discussing Brexit, the Iran crisis and all matters related is a passion that endures to this day. Believes firmly that life without the written word is a life best not lived. That’s me, Ashwin Ahmad.