The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control or OFAC, has sanctioned General Céléstin Kanyama, the Commander of the national police force in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, for his role in police violence targeted against DRC civilians, including peaceful protestors.
The action is not directed at the people of the DRC, but rather is a targeted sanction imposed on one individual. It will freeze Kanyama’s assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction and generally prevent U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with him.
OFAC designated Kanyama for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, the targeting of women, children, or any civilians through the commission of acts of violence, abduction, or forced displacement in the DRC, and for being a leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in such conduct.
The United States is concerned about the political crisis in the DRC. A continuation of the current practices of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially the arrest of political opponents and restriction of legitimate political activity by opposition political parties and civil society, runs counter to the ideals of the DRC’s own constitution and could undermine the country’s stability.
The United States urges all Congolese stakeholders to refrain from violence, and to commit to an inclusive, credible dialogue aimed at advancing national elections, in line with the constitution of the DRC.
The United States remains a partner ready to work hand in hand with the people and Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure peaceful, credible, and democratic elections. But should conditions not improve, the United States will consider targeted sanctions against additional individuals.
In announcing the sanctions against General Kanyama, OFAC’s Acting Director John E. Smith said, “As President Kabila’s constitutionally limited term nears its end in December, the regime has engaged in a pattern of repression, including the arrest of opposition members and violent suppression of political protests, all to avoid scheduling national elections.
Treasury’s action sends a clear message that the United States condemns the regime’s violence and repressive actions, especially those of Céléstin Kanyama, which threaten the future of democracy for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”