EU expands sanctions against Congo to 16 people

EU expands sanctions against Congo to 16 people

EU imposes sanctions on nine DR Congo officials over Kasai violence

They join seven people the European Union put sanctions on last December in response to the obstruction of the electoral process and related human rights violations.

The president struck a deal with the opposition at the end of previous year to hold elections by the end of 2017, but talks to implement the agreement broke down in March.

The sanctions also hit the current and former DRC ministers for the interior Ramazani Shadari and Evariste Boshab, respectively, the governor of Central Kasai province Alex Kande Mupompa and the former governor of Haut-Katanga Jean-Claude Kazembe as well as senior officers and a militia leader, the European Union said.

Democratic Republic of Congo's health ministry has approved the use of a new Ebola vaccine to counter an outbreak in its northeast that has killed four people, a spokesperson said on Monday.

They were listed for "having contributed to acts constituting serious human rights violations in the DRC, by planning, directing or committing them".

The DRC's communications minister and government spokesman was also sanctioned "for the repressive media policy" in the country, it added.

Tension has been mounting across the vast mineral-rich nation of 71 million people since December, when Kabila's second and final term officially ended but elections failed to be held.

Kabila, who first took office in 2001 after the assassination of his father Laurent, holds onto power despite a transition agreement brokered by the Catholic church which provides for elections later this year.

Worsening militia violence has raised fears of a slide back toward the civil wars of the turn of the century that killed millions of people in Congo.

Violence in the region has left at least 400 people dead since September, according to the United Nations, which has reported finding 40 mass graves, while two United Nations researchers investigating the violence were abducted and killed.

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