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UN extends arms embargo on DR Congo, condemns M23

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A young Congolese walks through the rain in the town of Sake, west of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 28, 2012. The government accused rebels today of widespread looting in Goma as the fighters began pulling out of the strategic eastern city following diplomatic mediation to prevent the conflict spreading across the volatile region. AFP PHOTO/PHIL MOORE

A young Congolese walks through the rain in the town of Sake, west of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 28, 2012. The government accused rebels today of widespread looting in Goma as the fighters began pulling out of the strategic eastern city following diplomatic mediation to prevent the conflict spreading across the volatile region. AFP PHOTO/PHIL MOORE 

By A Special Correspondent

Posted  Thursday, November 29  2012 at  11:38
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The UN Security Council on Wednesday renewed an arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), condemning the actions of the M23 armed rebel group.

In a resolution adopted unanimously, the 15-member council extended arms and transport restrictions to Feb.1, 2014, as well as financial and travel restrictions on "political and military leaders of foreign armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," namely the M23.

The rebel group, composed of soldiers that broke away from the DRC national army in April, recently seized towns in the North Kivu province including its capital, Goma, and is contributing to "a rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC," according to the council.

The resolution "strongly condemns the M23 and all its attacks on the civilian population, MONUSCO peacekeepers and humanitarian actors, as well as its abuses of human rights."

According to UN reports, the rebel group is responsible for extensive human rights abuses, including the recruitment of child soldiers, executions and acts of sexual violence.

This resolution comes one week after a previous resolution by the council that unanimously called for the M23 to withdraw from Goma.

The council also expressed deep concern "at reports indicating that external support continues to be provided to the M23 and reiterates its demand that any and all outside support to the M23 cease immediately."

The council also said it will "consider additional targeted sanctions" against the M23 rebel group.

On Tuesday, the M23 agreed to withdraw from Goma at the insistence of regional leaders in recent meetings with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), though there has been no action reported so far.

The council reiterated that "those responsible for crimes and human rights abuses will be held accountable." (Xinhua)


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