South Sudan regrets sanctions imposed on top officials

September 7, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan government said it regrets the United States decision to impose sanctions on a cabinet minister, a serving army general and former chief of army staff, accusing them of blocking the peace process and benefiting the civil war.

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South Sudan’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Mawien Makol (Photo: Citizen News)

In a statement issued on Thursday, the foreign affairs spokesman, Mawien Makol said the US imposed sanctions were “unfortunate and unhelpful”.

“What we need from the international community is moral and financial support, not sanctions”, he told reporters in Juba, adding that sanctions undermine efforts to a lasting solution to the conflict.

The U.S government on Wednesday imposed sanctions on two serving South Sudanese officials and the former military chief of staff, accusing them of fueling and profiting from the country’s civil war.

The U.S Treasury Department in said a statement on website that it had blacklisted Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, deputy chief of defense for logistics in the SPLA; Paul Malong, former army chief who was dismissed in May; and Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth.

The measures freeze any assets in the U.S or tied to the U.S financial system belonging to the three men. The U.S Treasury said Riak was central to weapons procurement during the first few years of the conflict and helped plan an offensive in Unity State in April 2015.

It also accused him of issuing military contracts at inflated prices “in order to receive extensive kickbacks. The U.S. Treasury blacklisted All Energy Investments, A+ Engineering, Electronics & Media Printing and Mak International Services which it said was owned or controlled by Malek. The Treasury said former chief of staff Malong “did not discourage” the killing of civilians around the town of Wau last year.

The US Treasury further accused the South Sudanese information minister of attacks against the U.N mission in South Sudan and obstructing peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in the country.

In July 2015, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on six South Sudanese generals accused of fuelling conflict in the world’s youngest nation. The generals, three from each side of the conflict, were meant to face global travel bans and asset freezes.

In November 2016, the US demanded the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on the then SPLA chief of staff Paul Malong and Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth for hampering the peace process in South Sudan.

The ex-First Vice President and rebel leader Riek Machar was also on the proposed list.

South Sudan’s civil war, now in its four-year, has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than two million people since it broke out in mid-December 2013.