The EU today imposed sanctions against seven top DR Congo security officials for their role in deadly clashes with protesters against President Joseph Kabila.
Kinshasa immediately slammed the move as an "illegal" throw-back to imperial days, warning it would take unspecified action against them.
More than 50 people died in the September violence and European Union foreign ministers had made clear in October they would go ahead with sanctions if Kabila showed no sign of leaving office when his term ends on December 19.
Ministers decided "to impose restrictive measures against the seven individuals who hold positions of authority in the chain of command over the Congolese security forces which have exercised a disproportionate use of force," a statement said.
The steps include travel bans and asset freezes.
The seven include two Kabila allies -- army commander Major General Gabriel Amisi Kumba and former inspector of police General John Numbi -- who have previously been sanctioned by the United States.
The EU also listed Ilunga Kampete, head of the president's Republican Guard; Ferdinand Ilunga Luyoyo, commander of the anti-riot squad; Celestin Kanyama, chief of the national police; Roger Kibelisa, in charge of the internal security services and Delphin Kaimibi, who ran the military intelligence arm.
The EU meanwhile said it would follow developments in DR Congo very closely and further sanctions "may be considered in the event of further violence or the political process being impeded".
The 28-nation bloc also called on the government to cooperate with a "transparent and independent investigation" to bring those responsible for the violence to justice.
Last week, the Catholic Church launched "reconciliation talks" in an effort to broker a deal between the opposition and Kabila on holding new elections.
The EU wants polls and a new government to ensure stability in DR Congo, a mineral-rich and strife-torn former Belgian colony which sits astride Africa's strategic crossroads.
Kabila first took office in 2001 after the assassination of his father Laurent-Desire Kabila and a 2006 constitutional provision limited the presidency to two terms.
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