The United Nations Security Council has resumed an arms embargo and sanctions regime for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The sanctions were resumed on Friday after the Security Council adopted a resolution for an arms embargo and related measures on the war-torn country.
The sanctions seek to put a travel ban and freezing of assets of all rebel leaders operating in DRC including Sultani Makenga, the military leader of the now defeated M23 rebel movement. Among other things discussed and approved by the Security Council is a ban on illegal poaching and gold mining from the Congo.
The sanctions come in light of a report by the UN Group Of Experts that was forwarded to the Security Council on Monday pinning Rwanda and Uganda for their continued support to the defeated and almost defunct M23 Rebel movement.
Uganda was accused of letting M23 leaders move freely within the Ugandan boundaries and non-compliance with requests for information. Uganda was also implicated in the report as the hub for illegal gold mined from the DRC.
Uganda has been the temporary home for over 1,400 soldiers of the M23 rebels including Sultani Makenga who surrendered in November to the UPDF. Following their surrender, UPDF placed them under their care in Hima, Kasese District, though the whereabouts of Makenga remain only known to top military and security personnel.
The Group of Experts say in their report that Makenga together with other leaders of the rebel group have been moving around freely in Uganda and conducting recruitment in Rwanda. Both Ugandan and Rwandan governments have denied the claims.
Now the UN Security Council wants Uganda to arrest and handover to Congolese Judicial bodies all rebel leaders with arrest warrants that are in Uganda. Both Col. Sultani Makenga and Bertrand Bisimwa, the political head of the M23 Movement have arrest warrants against them from the DRC.
In an earlier interview with AFP, a French News Agency, President Yoweri Museveni said Uganda will not handover the rebels unless an agreement is reached on their re-integration into the Congolese army and society. Attempts to get a comment from the army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda were futile as his known phone lines were switched off.
The Security Council also asked two Ugandan rebel groups operating in the DRC—the Allied Democratic Forces and Lord’s Resistance Army—to cease fire immediately and disband all the troops in their ranks.