Published: 16:26, February 21, 2024 | Updated: 16:34, February 21, 2024
UN sanctions six DR Congo rebels as fighting in east escalates
By Agencies

People gather at a busy road while carrying some of their belongings as they flee the Masisi territory following clashes between M23 rebels and government forces, at a road near Sake on Feb 7, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday sanctioned six people from five armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as violent clashes escalate in the region between the Congolese army and M23 Tutsi-led rebels.

The fighting, in a war that has lasted decades, has increased the risk of an all-out conflict between Congo and Rwanda that could suck in neighbors and regional forces including South Africa, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

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

Also added to the UN list were the military spokesperson for the M23 Tutsi-led rebels and a leader with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), founded by Hutus who fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide of more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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A UN peacekeeping force, known as MONUSCO, has been deployed in Congo for more than 13 years after taking over from an earlier UN operation in 2010 to help quell insecurity in the east of the Central African country.

The UN Security Council approved the end of the mission in December following a request by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi in September to fast-track the withdrawal of the peacekeepers.