Congo downplays US sanctions on two security officials

Congo's defence minister on Thursday criticized US sanctions on two security officials alleged to be involved in the suppression of political opposition, saying the measures may not have much impact.

The US Department of the Treasury announced Wednesday that it had frozen the US assets of army commander Gabriel Amisi Kumba and former police chief John Numbi following indications that the government "continues to suppress political opposition in the country, often through violent means."

Kumba was accused of violently repressing opposition demonstrations. Numbi had intimidated voters during elections for governors in March, the statement said.

"Those who take sanctions ... would have done better by starting to sanction the chiefs of police officers who commit blunders on the American soil," Defence Minister Crispin Atama Tabe told dpa.

"I don't know what impact this might have, because our officers are not often people who have a lot of bank accounts," the minister said, vowing that the army would "continue doing its job" in support of police.

Congo has recently seen violent protests against the postponement of general elections, which were initially due in November.

The opposition regards the postponement as a ploy by President Joseph Kabila, who is not eligible to seek a third term in office, to extend his rule.

Last update: Thu, 29/09/2016 - 20:06

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