WASHINGTON –Today the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group active in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for targeting children in situations of armed conflict, including through killing, rape, abduction and forced displacement. This action was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, which authorizes Treasury to designate those who engage in certain activities connected with widespread violence and atrocities that threaten regional stability.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the ADF’s activities and continuing violence against civilians,” said David S. Cohen, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “With yesterday’s UN Security Council action, the international community made clear that groups responsible for such atrocities must be isolated, and we will use our authorities to target those linked to this abhorrent group.”
The ADF, with an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 armed fighters, launched a series of attacks in 2013 against civilians in the DRC, forcing thousands of people to flee into Uganda and abducting or killing those that attempted to return. The ADF was also responsible for brutal attacks on women and children in several villages, including acts of beheading, mutilation, and rape. In recent years, the ADF has boosted its numbers through kidnapping as well as recruiting children, allegedly as young as 10 years old, to serve as child soldiers against the Ugandan government.
This action has been taken in support of the UN Security Council’s imposition of targeted sanctions (a travel ban and an assets freeze) against the ADF yesterday under the authority of various UN resolutions. The ADF has been placed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. All property and interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the ADF has an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the ADF.