UN tough­ens sanc­tions against DRC amid vi­o­lence

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

THE UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has ex­tended and ex­panded its arms em­bargo, as­set freeze and travel ban on the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo (DRC) un­til July next year as bloody eth­nic and re­li­gious vi­o­lence mounts and re­ports of the in­dis­crim­i­nate mur­ders of hun­dreds of civil­ians con­tinue to sur­face.

The ex­panded sanc­tions will cover in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties en­gag­ing in or pro­vid­ing sup­port for acts that in­clude plan­ning, di­rect­ing, spon­sor­ing or par­tic­i­pat­ing in at­tacks against UN Or­gan­i­sa­tion Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Mis­sion in the DRC (Monusco) peace­keep­ers or UN per­son­nel, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Group of Ex­perts.

The coun­cil fur­ther de­cided to ex­tend by two months the dead­line for the group’s fi­nal re­port on hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions and abuses, in­clud­ing those within the na­tional se­cu­rity forces, given the ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances un­der which it is op­er­at­ing, in­clud­ing the killing of two of its mem­bers in the Ka­sai re­gion in March.

The coun­cil called on rebel mili­tias in the re­gions to cease all vi­o­lence and stop ex­ploit­ing nat­u­ral re­sources.

De­spite the UN res­o­lu­tion, ex­changes of heavy weapons fire erupted in north-east­ern DRC yes­ter­day between the army and mili­tia fight­ers, and sev­eral stu­dents sit­ting ex­ams were wounded in an ex­plo­sion at a school, res­i­dents said.

The fight­ing in and around the city of Beni between Congo’s army and what is be­lieved to be a new coali­tion of armed groups, the Na­tional Move­ment of Rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, erupted early in the morn­ing and kept res­i­dents trapped in their homes, lo­cal ac­tivist Teddy Kata­liko said.

Gil­bert Kam­bale, an­other lo­cal ac­tivist, said that the bod­ies of three mili­tia fight­ers were ly­ing in the street, not far from the mayor’s of­fice.

An army spokesman in the zone said: “The sit­u­a­tion is not good.”

The fight­ing fol­lowed a break­out by more than 900 in­mates, many sus­pected mili­ti­a­men, from Beni’s main prison this month one of a – se­ries of mass jail­breaks that has un­der­lined the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion fur­ther since Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila re­fused to step down at the end of his con­sti­tu­tional man­date in De­cem­ber.

East­ern Congo con­tains dozens of armed groups that prey on lo­cals and ex­ploit min­eral re­serves. ANA – and Reuters

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Res­i­dents chant slo­gans against Con­golese Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila as UN peace­keep­ers pa­trol the streets of Kin­shasa in De­cem­ber. The world body has ex­tended sanc­tions against those found to be act­ing against its peace­keep­ers and other per­son­nel in the coun­try.

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