Obama announced the action in a message to Congress as the United Nations Security Council mulls new sanctions itself against a rebel group in the DRC.
“The situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been marked by widespread violence and atrocities that continue to threaten regional stability, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress. “For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency to deal with that threat and the related measures blocking the property of certain persons contributing to the conflict in that country.”
The conflict in the DRC, which continues to simmer despite a 2003 peace deal, has left more than 5 million people dead since 1998, making it the bloodiest confrontation since World War II. The conflict has returned to the headlines recently, with the U.N. Security Council declaring its intention to impose sanctions on the rebel movement M23, which is allegedly backed by U.S. ally Rwanda.