Eight people were added as sanctions to the list, including a politician and an army soldier.
The European Union has placed sanctions against a Belgian gold trader, rebel leader, Congolese military and political leaders for fomenting fighting and human right violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Thursday, the EU announced that it had added eight individuals to its list for sanctions related to violence in the conflict-ravaged east region. It also extended existing sanctions against nine other people.
The Council of the EU stated in a press release that the 17 individuals are now subject to restrictive EU measures, which include a travel ban as well as an asset freeze, until December 2023.
Among the eight newly listed are five members of armed groups – namely ADF, CODECO, FDLR, Mai-Mai Yakatumba and M23 – a member of the Congolese army, a Congolese politician and a Belgian businessman.
“Most of them are responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses and for perpetuating the armed conflict in the DRC. Others are listed as being responsible for inciting violence and exploiting conflict through the illegal exploitation of or trade natural resources,” the statement stated.
“Today’s decision was made as part of the EU’s integrated approach to support DRC authorities in building a lasting peace.
Alain Goetz, a Belgian-born businessman, was placed on an asset freeze by the bloc of 27 countries. He also received a visa ban for the blacklist of peasant conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is to prevent him from accessing assets and he will not be allowed to enter the country.
“Goetz thus exploits the armed conflicts, instability and insecurity of the DRC through the illegal extraction and trade in natural resources,” the official journal of the bloc stated.
The EU also targeted Willy Ngoma as the military spokesperson for the rebel group M23. He was accused of killing civilians fighting against the Congolese army.
It also added Protogene Ruvugayimikore, a rebel leader of the FDLR–FOCA military militia, and Meddie Nalubo a commander in ISIL(ISIS)-affiliated ADF.
Joseph Nganzo Olikwa Tipi a senior officer in the government army was blacklisted because of abuses committed by his 312th Battalion, which he commanded. These abuses included “particularly rapes against women between June and Dec 2021”.
Justin Bitakwira, a Congolese politician, was listed for inciting violence against the Banyamulenge people in the DRC.
The EU sanctions are in response to the March US sanctioning Goetz and his Ugandan-based African counterpart. Gold Refinery for illegal gold movement worth hundreds of million of dollars per year