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UN sanctions ADF rebel group fighting in Congo

July 1, 2014

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group which was created by Ugandan Muslims and has been fighting in neighboring eastern Congo.

The council added the rebel group known as the ADF to the Congo sanctions list Tuesday for committing “serious violations” of international law by recruiting and using child soldiers; killing, maiming and sexually attacking women and children; and attacking U.N. peacekeepers.

The group will now face an arms embargo and asset freeze. Its supreme leader, Jamil Mukulu, has been subjected to U.N. sanctions since 2011.

According to the United Nations, the ADF was created in 1995 and operates in the mountainous border area between eastern Congo and Uganda. It was reportedly started by Ugandan Muslims disaffected with the government of President Yoweri Museveni.

In 2013, a report by U.N. experts estimated its strength at 1,200 to 1,500 armed fighters located in the Beni area of eastern Congo’s North Kivu province, close to the border with Uganda. As a result of an offensive by U.N. and Congolese armed forces in 2013 and 2014, the U.N. said the ADF has dispersed its fighters to numerous smaller bases.

In listing reasons for imposing sanctions, the U.N. cited reports that the ADF recruited boys as young as 9 years old.

It also cited a U.N. experts report in 2013 which blamed the ADF for attacking numerous villages in eastern Congo, prompting more than 66,000 people to flee into Uganda. The report said the ADF was also responsible for decapitating at least five people in the Kamango area, shooting several others and kidnapping dozens more.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s March 2014 report on conflict-related sexual violence includes the ADF on its list of “parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for rape or other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict.”

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo has reported two ADF attacks on its peacekeepers, the first on a patrol on July 14, 2013 and the second on March 3, 2014, when grenades were thrown at a U.N. vehicle force, injuring five peacekeepers.

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