The United States government announced this Thursday a package of sanctions against six people whom it accuses of having contributed to the escalation of the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), even committing human rights violations and destabilizing the Zone.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on three men linked to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed rebel group formed primarily of Hutus and responsible for the genocide in Rwanda in the Year 1994 is responsible in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The appointees are Apolliaire Hakizimana, Defense Commissioner, General Sebastian Iwimbabazi, Head of Intelligence, and Ruvugayimikore Protogene, Head of the FDLR-affiliated Maccabe Group. All of them are Rwandan citizens.
The US authorities also imposed sanctions on a Congolese figure, Bernar Byamungu, deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the rebel group March 23 Movement (M23), a militia made up mostly of Congolese Tutsis and based primarily in North Kivu province operates.
Washington has also imposed sanctions on a colonel in the DRC’s armed forces, Salomon Tokolonga, accused of supplying ammunition to FDLR fighters fighting the M23; and a Rwandan Defense Forces general, Andrew Nyamvumba, who led a joint operation with the M23 in which Congolese army positions were attacked.
“The United States is committed to promoting a peaceful resolution to the escalating conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Treasury Department will not hesitate to hold accountable the perpetrators of human rights abuses that aggravate an already dire humanitarian situation,” said Treasury Department Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.
The DRC and Rwanda are locked in a diplomatic row over Kinshasa’s accusations against Kigali for its support of the M23. Rwanda also accuses the Democratic Republic of Congo of supporting the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).