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UN Security Council Sanctions 6 Rebel Leaders in Congo

The U.N. Security Council designated six individuals for sanctions Tuesday for their destabilizing activities in Congo, where violence has escalated in the east this year, intensifying an already dire humanitarian situation.

Those sanctioned are a general in the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR); two senior leaders in the Ugandan armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF); the military spokesman for the Rwandan-backed M23 rebel group; the leader of the National Coalition of the People for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC), a Mai-Mai group; and a commander in the armed group Twirwaneho.

“These individuals are responsible for numerous abuses,” U.S. Deputy U.N. Ambassador Robert Wood said in the council. “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.”

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Wood urged the international community to take immediate steps to end the fighting in the eastern Congo and de-escalate tensions between Congo and Rwanda. Each country blames the other for the instability.

The United Nations has expressed grave concern about the deterioration in North Kivu province since a cease-fire expired at the end of December between Rwandan-backed M23 rebels and the Congolese army, known as the FARDC.

“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.

The M23 has its eye on Goma, the capital of North Kivu and a city of 2 million people where the U.N. estimates that 135,000 displaced people have fled this month. The rebels are now reported to be in the hills outside Sake town, 25 kilometers from Goma.

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MONUSCO’s Keita says the fighting is complicating the humanitarian situation. Displacement sites are severely overcrowded, cholera and measles are on the rise, and Goma’s isolation is disrupting food production and supply chains and causing prices to rise for basic commodities.

The U.N. appealed Tuesday for $2.6 billion to assist nearly 9 million of the most vulnerable Congolese this year. Overall, there are more than 25 million people in need, including 8.4 million people affected by acute malnutrition – most of them children.

SourceVOA

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