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WATCH: We are surprised by US action, says DRC envoy

06 October 2016, 10:47Betha Madhomu, News24

Cape Town – The Democratic Republic of Congo's ambassador to South Africa, Bene M'Poko, has expressed concern over the way the United States is handling the political developments in the central African country.

M'Poko told News24 in an interview that his country was "surprised by the action of the US government".

The envoy's remarks came after the US last week placed sanctions on two high-ranking Congolese officials who were considered to be close to President Joseph Kabila. 

The US Treasury said that Major General Gabriel Amisi Kumba, a commander of the armed forces, had led units that violently repressed political demonstrations in several provinces, including Kinshasa. 

Also hit with sanctions was General John Numbi, a former national inspector in the police and a close advisor to Kabila.

"The US government is involved in conflicts around the world and, as you know, they don’t always apply the same principles everywhere. There are countries where they are involved and you don't hear them imposing sanctions on those countries. We are very surprised by that. The two individuals will be isolated and will be put under sanctions," said M’Poko.

Listen to M'Poko speaking below.

The sanctions, which banned US individuals and businesses from dealings with the two men, came days after dozens of demonstrators were killed in anti-government protests.

Under a new constitutional regime in 2016, Kabila was elected to the position with a two-term limit, which should expire in December.

However, the government has not yet scheduled new elections, giving rise to fears that he will not step down.

M'Poko said, although he could not speak on behalf of the US, his country would deal with the developments as they came.

"We have to deal with it as it comes. I cannot speak for the US government, [but] they have to explain why they are imposing sanctions on certain individuals... We understand DRC is a very unusual country. It's a major country, strategic country in the middle of Africa and everybody would like to have access to Congolese resources. It's a known fact that DRC is a victim of its resources," M'Poko said.

- News24


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