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UK Sanctions DRC Insurgents

FILE: Militiamen of the armed group URDPC/CODECO from the Lendu community take part in a meeting with former warlords - from the 1999-2003 Ituri War - in the village of Wadda, Ituri Province, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on September 19, 2020.

LONDON — The U.K. on Monday announced new sanctions against on two rebel leaders from the violence-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo - Desire Londroma Ndjukpa and William Yakutumba.

Desire Londroma Ndjukpa heads the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) militia, while Yakutumba, an army deserter, is leader of the armed Mai-Mai Yakutumba rebel group.

The U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said Ndjukpa and Yakutumba would be subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

Both men's groups have used rape and mass rape, breaking international humanitarian law, the FCDO said.

"Threats of sexual violence as a weapon in conflict must stop and survivors must be supported to come forward," said junior foreign minister Tariq Ahmad.

"These sanctions send a clear signal to perpetrators that the UK will hold you accountable for your horrendous crimes."