Democratic Republic of the Congo
February 07, 2020

U.N. Sanctions Leader of Armed Group in Democratic of Congo

By Samuel Rubenfeld

The United Nations this week sanctioned Seka Baluku, the overall leader of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The ADF was sanctioned by the U.S. and the U.N. in 2014 for targeting children in armed conflict, through forced displacement, abduction, and recruitment. The group has been responsible for rape and other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict. Baluku has committed, planned and directed the repeated targeting, killing, maiming, rape and abduction of civilians, including children, the U.N. said, citing multiple Panel of Experts reports.

Though the ADF was weakened and disbursed following 2014 operations by Congolese forces, it has since regrouped and reinstated a single command and control structure led by Baluku, according to a June 2019 Panel of Experts report. A December 2019 report confirmed that he remains the group’s overall leader, and that ADF positions remain largely stable.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Baluku in December, along with other key members of the ADF, under the Global Magnitsky Act as part of a broader action coinciding with International Human Rights Day. The U.S. action named Baluku using the alias Musa.

The ADF continues to perpetuate widespread violence and innumerable human rights abuses, including abduction, recruitment and use of children during attacks, the Treasury said at the time. Its overnight raids and abduction of civilians had not abated, according to the Treasury.