EU expands sanctions against Congo to 16 people

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The people targeted by asset freezes and travel bans "hold positions of responsibility in the state administration and in the chain of command of the security forces", the European Union said in a statement.

They include; current vice prime minister and minister of interior and security, Ramazani Shadari and former holder of the posts, Evariste Boshab, Lambert Mende, minister of communications and media and government spokesperson, Kalev Mutond head of the National Intelligence Service, Muhindo Akili Mundos, FARDC commander 31st brigade, Brigadier General Eric Ruhorimbere, deputy commander of the 21st military region (Mbuji-Mayi), the governor of Central Kasai, Gedeon Kyungu Mutanga, former governor of Haut-Katanga, Jean-Claude Kazembe Musonda and militia leader, Gideon Kyungu Mutanga. "There will be a reaction".

Congo's government has repeatedly denounced earlier sanctions imposed by the European Union and United States as unjustified and illegal, and has threatened diplomatic retaliation. He has blamed election delays on budgetary constraints and the challenge of registering millions of voters.

According to a UN statement, the UN Council took restrictive measures against nine individuals who hold positions of responsibility in the state administration and in the security forces' chain of command.

Brussels had warned in March that it could impose fresh measures if political and military leaders blocked a deal with the opposition over Kabila's refusal to step down at the end of his term late a year ago.

The deadly violence between government forces and tribal militias in Kasai has forced more than a million people from their homes over the past eight months, the United Nations said, and has left almost 400,000 children at risk of dying from hunger.

Among the new listings were Evariste Boshab, a close ally of Kabila as his former interior and security minister, and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari, who holds the job now and oversees the police.

Reached by telephone, Mende said he could not immediately comment further because he was out of the country.