BRUSSELS May 24 The European Union is poised to
impose sanctions against more Congolese officials, sources in
Brussels said, amid worsening violence in the resource-rich
country since President Joseph Kabila overstayed his mandate and
pushed back elections.
One source said the EU will add nine names to its Congo
blacklist of people subjected to asset freezes and travel bans.
They join seven others, including members of the Congolese army
and police, the bloc put on its list in December citing "serious
violations of human rights".
The bloc's 28 member states are expected to approve the
enlarged sanctions list at a meeting in Brussels later on
Wednesday, the source said.
Kabila, in power since 2001, struck a deal in December with
Congo's main opposition bloc to stay on after his mandate
expired provided he held elections by the end of 2017. But talks
to implement the deal broke down in March when Kabila refused to
commit to the bloc's choice of prime minister.
Political tensions are high after security forces killed
dozens during protests over election delays last year. Worsening
militia violence in recent months has also raised fears of a
backslide toward the civil wars of the turn of the century that
The Congo government has repeatedly denounced earlier
sanctions imposed by the EU and United States as unjustified and
illegal, and has threatened diplomatic retaliation.
Congo mines significant amounts of cobalt, gold, diamonds,
copper and tin but remains one of Sub-Saharan Africa's poorest
On Tuesday, the EU said separately it would help transport
aid workers and medical supplies to a remote north-eastern
region of Congo, which is fighting an Ebola outbreak.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Richard Lough)