DR Congo M23 rebels placed under UN sanctions

M23 rebel soldiers patrol near Rutshuru, 17 October 2012 M23 rebels mutinied from the Congolese army in April in eastern DRC

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on leaders of the M23 rebel movement in DR Congo.

Under the measures, those linked to the group will have their assets frozen and be barred from travel. Similar measures were taken against Rwandan FDLR rebels.

Made up of deserters from the army, the M23 captured Goma - on DR Congo's eastern border with Rwanda - from government and UN troops last month.

It later withdrew from the city, following international condemnation.

The New Year's Eve sanctions come the day before Rwanda joins the Security Council for a two-year term.

The UN and DR Congo government accuse Rwanda and Uganda of backing the rebels, an allegation they strongly deny.

Rwanda is widely seen as having backed armed groups in the east of DR Congo as a way to fight Hutu rebels, such as the FDLR, who fled there after the 1994 genocide.

It has been accused of using militias as proxies in an on-going battle for the region, which is rich in minerals. The Rwandan government strenuously denies the accusations.

The M23 rebellion started when a militia that had been absorbed into the Congolese army mutinied and went on the rampage in the eastern part of the country.

Since then some 700,000 people have been displaced by fighting between the M23 and the army.

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