Congo-Kinshasa: U.S. Designates M23 Leaders for Fomenting Conflict in DRC

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Washington — The United States has designated two senior leaders of the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) militant group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as persons contributing to the ongoing conflict in the country.

On January 24, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Eric Badege and Jean-Marie Runiga Rugerero (Runiga) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, which targets those contributing to the DRC conflict. The action was announced in a Treasury Department news release the same day.

The two are leaders of M23, which foments violence and instability in the DRC. M23 was designated by the Treasury Department on January 3.

"The United States is committed to working with the international community to end the violence that destabilizes communities in the DRC and the atrocities perpetrated by armed groups against children," said Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen, according to the news release. "Today's designations underscore the United States' determination to deny impunity for these despicable acts."

Eric Badege is a military commander of M23 and has led a series of attacks that involved the killing of civilians.

Runiga is the leader of the political wing of M23. In that capacity, he has led M23 delegations and issued demands to the Congolese government that included the resignation of Congolese President Joseph Kabila and the dissolution of the national assembly. Runiga indicated that, if given the opportunity, M23 could retake the city of Goma.

The U.N. Security Council's Democratic Republic of the Congo Sanctions Committee recently listed the M23 group and several M23 senior leaders, including Runiga and Badege, on its consolidated asset freeze and travel ban list.

M23 is an armed group operating in eastern DRC that has fomented violence and instability in the country. The group has committed serious violations of international law involving the targeting of children in the conflict and "is responsible for campaigns of horrific violence against the DRC's civilian population," the Treasury Department said.

M23 has used its resources to undermine peace efforts in the region and has taken control of large parts of eastern DRC. The group continues to impede the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants in the conflict.

Identifying information for the two designated M23 leaders can be found in the Treasury Department news release.

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