politics

Switzerland Imposes Sanctions on 14 Top Congo Officials

Switzerland imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 14 allies of Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said.

The individuals, including former or serving ministers, provincial governors and senior officers in the security forces, “are accused of hindering the conduct of elections in the DRC by acts of violence, repression, incitement to violence and violation of the rule of law and of being responsible for serious human rights violations,” the secretariat said in a statement Wednesday.

Joseph Kabila

Photographer: Thomas Nicolon/AFP via Getty Images

Kabila has been in power since 2001 and was supposed to step down in December 2016 at the end of his second term, but elections were postponed, triggering protests in which dozens of people have been killed by security forces. Polls are now scheduled for Dec. 23.

Switzerland sanctioned the same Congolese officials that were targeted by the European Union in 2016 and 2017. Those listed include former interior ministers Ramazani Shadari and Evariste Boshab, and Communications Minister Lambert Mende.

EU Sanctions Nine Congolese Including Two Government Figures

In December, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, a major investor in Congo, for using his close relationship with Kabila to amass a fortune through corrupt and opaque deals.

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