The U.S. Treasury Department announced its move to add top M23 commander Sultani Makenga to its list of Congolese warlords under sanctions for their role in stoking violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Makenga is the first militia member newly targeted with U.S. sanctions since M23 fighters split off from the Congolese army in April; however, M23 leader Bosco Ntaganda has be on the U.S. government's Specially Designated Nationals List since 2010.
"Sultani Makenga is responsible for extensive atrocities against the population in the DRC, including the recruitment of child soldiers, and campaigns of violence against civilians," said Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Director Adam J. Szubin in a statement on Tuesday. "Today's action reflects the international community's commitment to resolving the ongoing crisis in the region."
According to OFAC rules, any assets Makenga owns in the United States are frozen, and Americans are barred from conducting transactions with him. The United Nations also added Makenga to its sanctions list on November 12, barring him from traveling outside Congo.
Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said the move was "a good start," but noted, "Sultani did not invent this pseudo-mutiny in the east, [but remains] an instrument behind much wrongdoing," according to Agence-France Presse.[view whole blog post ]