KIGALI - The United Nations Security Council early this week renewed sanctions against rebel groups operating in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The council adopted resolution 1896 (2009) which consists of an arms embargo against armed groups in the DRC, that are not part of the Government’s integrated army or police units, as well as a travel ban and assets freeze on those violating the embargo.
While condemning the continuing illicit traffic of weapons in the DRC, the Council extended the arms embargo and sanctions up until November 30, 2010.
The mandate of a Group of Experts on the DRC was also extended for a year, to include the creation of recommendations on due diligence guidelines for the buying and processing of mineral products in DRC.
The group of experts recently issued a damning report with documented evidence pinning foreign and regional governments on continuously supporting the rag-tag rebel outfit, FDLR.
FDLR has been categorised by the US State department as a terrorist network.
The UN sanctions announced this Monday were first introduced in 2003 but have largely been violated.
In this resolution, the Council requested the group of experts to focus their activities in North and South Kivu, Ituri and the Orientale Province, as well as on regional and international networks providing support to armed groups operating in the eastern part of the DRC.
Part of the of resolution 1896 (2009) says that the Council demanded that “all armed groups, in particular the Forces démocratiques de liberation du Rwanda (FDLR), and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), immediately lay down their arms and cease their attacks against the civilian population.”
The Council also expressed concern “about the support received by armed groups operating in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from regional and international networks.”
Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Council calls upon all States, those in the region and outside, to cooperate fully with the Committee in carrying out its mandate.
The report by the UN Group of Experts details a vast international network linked to the FDLR, including Spanish charities, Ukrainian arms dealers, and corrupt African government officials.