A UN sanctions committee has imposed a travel ban and froze assets of four leaders of FDLR rebels, the UN reported Tuesday.
The four rebel leaders named are Callixte Mbarushimana, Stanislas Nzeyimana, Pacifique Ntawunguka and Leopold Mujyambere. The move comes just days after a joint Rwanda-Congo military operation against the rebels ended.
The sanctions committee’s decision was based on a recommendation submitted by France, Britain, Belgium and the United States.
“This designation bears testimony to the international community’s determination to fight against those who oppose the disarmament of rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” it said.
The four leaders of the FDLR rebels will face the UN sanctions in line with Security Council resolution 1857 for undermining the fragile peace process in eastern Congo.
“It is also important to emphasize that for the first time ... three of these leaders are sanctioned for the recruitment of children and for sexual violence committed by groups that they commanded.”
In December a UN panel of independent experts urged the sanctions committee to add the names of more individuals and entities to its blacklist for supporting Congolese and Rwandan rebels active in eastern Congo.
The panel said elements of the Congolese army had provided support for Rwandan rebels in North Kivu province, some of whom are believed to have taken part in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
When contacted, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rosemary Museminali, welcomed the development, saying the government had pushed for it for years.
“We were asked to submit a list of names and the four are among those names we submitted.
“We feel that it’s a good move. Indeed it’s not enough but it’s a step in the right direction,” the Minister told The New Times on phone yesterday. She added that it was a wake up call for countries to act.
Museminali stressed that one of the rebels on the list, Mbarushimana, was always dissuading other rebels from surrendering during the recent joint military operation.