DRC-Rwanda commanders face sanctions from US and EU over violence

Friday March 03 2023
M23 rebels

In this file photo taken on January 06, 2023 Colonel John Imani Nzenze (centre)- a representative of M23, meets with East African Regional Force officials during the handover ceremony at Rumangabo camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.


The US, Britain and European Union are to announce fresh sanctions targeting military commanders and militia leaders involved in the ongoing fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

This fresh round of sanctions will target military commanders from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, the BBC reported.

The two countries have traded accusations over the conflict in the mineral rich region of DR Congo.

Eastern DR Congo has seen an escalation of fighting in recent days between Congolese forces and rebel groups that has killed thousands and displaced millions more. It was understood that diplomats said others on the list include leaders from the M23 rebel group and the Islamic State affiliate ADF.

Fighting has escalated in recent weeks in the east with all the warring sides accused of violating a ceasefire agreement.

Regionally backed peace talks to end the violence have collapsed. 


In December last year, the European Union toughened sanctions on perpetrators of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, targeting leaders of various armed groups including the M23

The Council of the European Union on sanctioned eight new personalities, including five members of different armed groups operating in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri in eastern DRC.

On the list is Willy Ngoma, the military spokesman for the M23, who, according to the EU has "contributed to and planned acts constituting serious violations of human rights in the DRC".

The representatives of four other armed groups are said to be “responsible for committing serious human rights violations and abuses, as well as fueling the armed conflict in the DRC.

"Others have been listed for inciting violence and instrumentalising the conflict by engaging in the illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources," the EU explained in its decision.

East Africa member countries resolved to deploy troops to the troubled area, but locals have been protesting against the soldiers. The locals claim Rwanda is behind the conflict and called on the international community to sanction the country.

However, President Paul Kagame has distanced himself from the allegations, telling Kinshasa to put its house in order and deal with its issues without dragging Rwanda to the conflict.