Source: Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

December 11, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – The United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on five South Sudanese officials, it says, were responsible for the abductions and likely murders of two human rights activists in 2017.

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Dong Samuel Luak, and Aggrey Idris (photo Amnesty)

The US, in a statement, said South Sudan government repeatedly used extrajudicial killings to silence dissent, limit freedom of speech and the press, and enforce the political status quo.

“Its refusal to create political space for dissenting voices - be they from opposition parties, civil society, or media, is a major factor in the country's inability to implement its peace deal and form a national unity government,” partly reads the statement.

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The US said it is taking action against five individuals responsible for the abduction and likely murder of two human rights activists in 2017.

According to the US Treasury, Aggrey Idri, a member of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO), and Dong Samuel Luak, a South Sudanese human rights lawyer, disappeared from Nairobi, Kenya, on January 23 and 24, 2017, respectively, according to a UN Panel of Experts report and multiple press articles.

The two activists, it said, were kidnapped in Kenya by members of the South Sudanese security services and brought back to South Sudan, where they were held for a short period of time in National Security Service's headquarters, known as the “Blue House.”,”

“According to reports, after that short period of internment, Dong and Aggrey were moved to a different detention center within South Sudan, where they were reportedly killed upon the orders of, and by, members of the South Sudanese government,” notes the statement.

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In April, however, a United Nations panel of experts report said that it was likely that the two activists were executed by Internal Security Bureau agents on 30 January 2017, on orders from the commander of the National Security Service training and detention facilities.

“Despite two years elapsing since the death of Dong and Aggrey, the Government of South Sudan has shown no indications of holding the five individuals or any others to account, and has not taken any corrective measures since the publication in April of the UN Panel of Experts report,” stressed the US Treasury's statement.

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The five “foreign persons” believed to have killed activists Dong, Aggrey and other individuals include, Abud Stephen Thiongkol (Thiongkol), Malual Dhal Muorwel (Muorwel), Michael Kuajien (Kuajien), John Top Lam (Lam) and Angelo Kuot Garang (Garang).

The South Sudanese government was immediately available to react on the sanctions.

South Sudan descended into civil war in mid-December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup, allegations the latter denied.

In September last year, the country's rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

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