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UN to sanction M23 rebels in the eastern Congo

The UN Security Council said it intends to impose sanctions against leaders of the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as on those who violate an arms embargo on the country.

Un sanctions m23 rebels 20121020Enlarge
The president of the March 23 Movement (M23), Bishop Jean Marie Runiga Lugerero is flanked by M23 rebel soldiers as he poses in Bunaganan near Rutshuru, on October 17, 2012. Two rebel groups active in the Democratic Republic of Congo's restive east, the M23 and FDLR, have formed an alliance and clashed with the country's military, an army spokesman said on October 17. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN Security Council has said it intends to impose sanctions against leaders of the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as on those who violate an arms embargo on the country.

A leaked UN report this week accused Rwanda of commanding the M23 rebellion in the eastern DRC.

The confidential report by a UN panel of experts said Rwanda's defense minister, James Kabarebe, has been relaying military orders to M23 rebel leaders since April, according to Reuters news agency. The report also accused Uganda of supporting the rebels.

Also this week, Rwanda won a seat on the UN Security Council for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2013, despite the DRC raising a formal objection to its candidacy.

More from GlobalPost: Rwanda commands M23 rebels in neighboring Congo, UN says

The non-binding Security Council statement released Friday condemns the M23 rebels for "attacks on the civilian population, United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian actors, as well as its abuses of human rights, including summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment and use of child soldiers."

The statement also expresses "deep concern" at reports that external support "continues to be provided to the M23 by neighboring countries."

"The Security Council demands that any and all outside support to the M23 as well as other armed groups cease immediately,” Ambassador Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala, which this month holds the presidency of the Security Council, said in a statement.

“The Security Council calls upon all countries in the region to condemn the M23, as well as other armed groups, and to cooperate actively with the Congolese authorities in disarming and demobilizing the M23 as well as other armed groups and dismantling the M23 parallel administration,” the statement added.

More from GlobalPost: Eastern Congo rocked by fresh fighting

Previous UN reports have accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 militia and of committing serious human rights violations while pursuing Hutu rebels that fled into the DRC following the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The M23 uprising is led by Bosco Ntaganda, a renegade Congolese general known as "The Terminator" who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/121020/un-sanction-m23-rebels-the-eastern-congo