3 December 2010

Rwanda: New Travel Ban for FDLR Leaders

Kigali — The United Nation Security Council has imposed a worldwide travel ban and order to freeze the assets of three top leaders of FDLR - a rebel group operating in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) jungles.

Those facing sanctions are Gaston Iyamuremye, Felicien Nsanzubukire, and Leodomir Mugaragu.

The UN missions for France, Britain and the United States said in a joint statement that they asked the Council's sanctions committee for the unusual step of putting the trio on the list because their "actions have undermined stability" in the DRC.

"These designations demonstrate the international community's continued determination to fight against those who oppose the disarmament of rebel groups in the DRC and those responsible for the recruitment of children and serious human rights abuses," the statement said.

Iyamuremye is the second vice president of the FDLR and is considered a core member of the FDLR military and political leadership.

He also ran Ignace Murwanashyaka's (president of the FDLR) office in Kibua, DRC until December 2009.

The Sanctions Committee's Group of Experts pointed out that Nsanzubukire supervised and coordinated the trafficking of ammunition and weapons between at least November 2008 and April 2009 from Tanzania, via Lake Tanganyika, to FDLR units based in the Uvira and Fizi areas of South Kivu.

Meanwhile, according to reports, Mugaragu is the Chief of Staff of the Combatant Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (FOCA/Abacunguzi), FDLR's armed wing.

Mugaragu is also a senior planner for FDLR's military operations in the eastern DRC.

The UN had previously imposed sanctions on 16 other top FDLR leaders including group's rebel leaders Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni who are currently in detention in Germany, Callixte Mbarushimana who is awaiting extradition to ICC from France, Sylvestre Mudacumura and Leopold Majyambere.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga commended the UN for the move but expressed his concerns saying that the list is not exhaustive.

"This is a good move but the list is not exhausted; we have proven that there are actually many people funding the FDLR. I should emphasise people like Paul Rusesabagina should be on this list," he said.

"This should not stop at freezing assets and a travel ban, these people should be tracked down and brought to justice."

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