The U.S. government has added to the sanctions against the Lord’s Resistance Army and the African rebel group’s leader, Joseph Kony.
The Treasury Department says the financial sanctions, announced Tuesday, are in response to the U.S.-designated terrorist group’s targeting of civilians in the Central African Republic.
The department says that since December 2013, the group has killed, kidnapped, displaced, or committed sexual violence against hundreds of C.A.R. residents, as well as looting or destroying civilian property.
It says in an 18-month period starting in January 2014, the LRA was involved in nearly 330 abductions.
It also accused the group of trading in illicit diamonds and illegal elephant ivory in order to generate revenue.
The Treasury Department first imposed sanctions against the LRA and Kony when the U.S. designated it as a terrorist group, in 2001 and 2008 respectively. The new sanctions freeze any LRA assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prevent U.S. nationals from engaging in transactions with the group.
The LRA battled the government of Uganda for 20 years before withdrawing into Central Africa in 2006. Since then, bands of LRA fighters have been active in the C.A.R., Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
According to the Treasury Department, last year Kony led two LRA groups into Kafia Kingi, a territory on the border of Sudan and South Sudan whose final status has yet to be determined.
The group survives by attacking and looting remote villages and taking captives who are turned into fighters, assistants or sex slaves.
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Source: Voice of America