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UN Imposes Sanctions on Congo Commander for Using Child Soldiers

The United Nations imposed sanctions on a Democratic Republic of Congo army commander for multiple human-rights abuses, including the use of child soldiers, the UN missions of the U.S., U.K. and France said in a joint statement.

A UN Security Council sanctions committee banned Lieutenant-Colonel Innocent Zimurinda from foreign travel and froze his assets after reports by the UN and other aid groups accused him of ordering massacres and rape, and recruiting child soldiers, according to the e-mailed statement.

Zimurinda was integrated into the Congolese army last year after his former rebel group, the National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, signed a peace agreement with the government. Zimurinda didn’t answer questions put to him when called today on his mobile phone and didn’t respond to a text-message request for comment.

Three Rwandan nationals were also sanctioned for commanding the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a renegade group based in eastern Congo with links to the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the statement said.

Congo’s eastern region has been mired in conflict for more than 15 years, fuelled by illicit trade of natural resources. Between 1998 and 2007, more than 3 million people died as a result of the conflict, mainly due to preventable disease and malnutrition, according to the International Rescue Committee, the New York-based aid group.

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