UN extends arms embargo on Congo rebels


The head of the M23 rebel military forces, Brigadier-General Sultani Makenga (R), sits on November 25, 2012 in the yard of a military residence in Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over half a million people have been displaced in eastern Congo since the outbreak of the M23 rebellion.



The UN Security Council on Wednesday extended an arms embargo against Congo rebels.

The council also strongly condemned a rebel group believed to be backed by Rwanda for attacking civilians, reported the Associated Press. In a unanimously adopted resolution, it extended sanctions against armed groups in Congo until February 1, 2014, and said it will consider more measures against leaders of the M23 rebel group and those supporting them.

More from GlobalPost: Congo M23 rebels say they are withdrawing from Goma

The sanctions against Congo rebels were first introduced in 2003 at the end of a civil war that took over the central African nation for five years, according to RTT. They included the arms embargo against armed groups that are not part of the government's integrated army or police units, as well as travel bans and asset freezes against anyone who violated the embargo.

M23 is made up of hundreds of soldiers that broke away from the Congolese army in April, reported Xinhua. The rebel group recently seized many towns and villages in the North Kivu province, including the capital of Goma.

The council said it is contributing to "a rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC." UN reports said M23 is responsible for extensive human rights abuses, including the recruitment of child soldiers, executions and acts of sexual violence.