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US sanctions two more South Sudanese rival commanders


July 3, 2015 (NEW YORK) - The United States (US) Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Friday designated for sanctions South Sudanese military commander General Gabriel Jok Riak and armed opposition commander General Simon Gatwech Dual.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) disembark from a pick-up truck in Unity state capital Bentiu on 12 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

In the statement, US said the move was in accordance with the executive order (E.O.) 13664, authorizing the department to sanction South Sudanese individuals responsible for threatening peace, security, or stability of South Sudan and for expanding or extending the conflict or obstructing peace talks or processes in South Sudan.

The action followed on Wednesday’s listing by the United Nations (UN) of Gabriel Jok Riak, Simon Gatwech Dual, and four other individuals previously designated by OFAC – including Generals Peter Gatdet Yak, Marial Chanuong Yol Mangok, James Koang Chuol, and Santino Deng Wol – under UN Security Council Resolution 2206.

“These two individuals [Riak and Dual] are also being designated for being leaders of groups whose members are involved in sanctionable activities,” partly reads the US order.

“As leaders of opposing groups in South Sudan, both Gabriel Jok Riak and Simon Gatwech Dual are responsible for perpetrating violence and breaching ceasefire agreements,” said Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith.

“Today’s action taken in coordination with our international partners underscores that the United States strongly condemns anyone, on either side of the conflict, who exacerbates the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, and we will work to thwart anyone who helps fuel violence in the region,” he said.

The US order says Riak “has been designated for engaging in actions that expand or extend the conflict in South Sudan, or obstructed peace talks or processes, and for being a leader of forces who also engaged in actions that expand or extend the conflict in South Sudan, or obstructed peace talks or processes.”

As the commander of Sector One of the South Sudanese military, known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), that operates primarily within Unity State, a province in South Sudan, and consists of SPLA Divisions Three, Four, and Five.

Riak reportedly assisted in arming and mobilizing as many as 1,000 youths to supplement traditional SPLA forces, and he has reportedly sought to have tanks repaired and modified for use against SPLA-IO forces allied to former vice-president, Riek Machar.

In late 2014, heavy weapons and thousands of troops were brought into or redeployed within Sector One’s area of responsibility to combat the SPLA-IO.

Since late April 2015, SPLA forces under Riak’s command in Sector One had been reportedly conducting a full-scale offensive against SPLA-IO forces in violation of multiple ceasefire agreements’ requirements to protect civilians and prohibitions on military operations.

“This offensive has reportedly resulted in targeted violence against civilians, grave human rights abuses, and destruction of villages, leading to the displacement of more than 100,000 people,” it said.

Additionally, the SPLA has reportedly denied freedom of movement to an international monitoring team based in Bentiu – an action, the report said, also constituted a violation of the various ceasefire agreements.

As commander of Sector One, Riak “is responsible” for both the ongoing SPLA offensive and the denial of freedom of movement to the Bentiu monitoring team in Unity State, it says.

Dual has been designated for engaging in actions that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, and for being a leader of forces that have also engaged in actions that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan and targeted civilians, including women and children, through acts of violence.

Dual who is the SPLA-IO’s chief of general staff and was previously its commander for Jonglei state. In late April 2014, forces under his command engaged in an offensive in Jonglei state and advanced on Bor, Jonglei’s capital.

In early 2015, Dual was reportedly responsible for an attack in Jonglei state, and as of March 2015, he allegedly tried to destroy the peace in the state through attacks on the civilian population.

In late April 2015, Dual was reportedly involved in planning and coordinating surprise attacks against South Sudanese government forces in Upper Nile state. He allegedly ordered units under his command to kill prisoners of war, women, and children.

US president, Barack Obama, signed executive order 13664 on 3 April, 2014 to address the cycle of violence that has claimed thousands of lives in South Sudan since December 2013.

This executive order authorizes Treasury to impose sanctions on those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, obstruct the peace process, target peacekeepers, or are responsible for human rights abuses or other atrocities in South Sudan.

Friday’s action was the third time OFAC has sanctioned individuals under the executive order 13664, and the first time such action has been coordinated with UN sanctions listings.

The order directed all US citizens anywhere in the world that they were generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Riak and Dual, and any assets of these persons that are subject to US jurisdiction were therefore frozen.


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 5 July 2015 10:22, by Rami Tot

    US is blind or double agent on the south Sudan issues?
    i am being hearing sanctions from them but never calls for arrest warrant to those who kills innocents in Juba and bentiu why i am doubting they have not identify them yet or will target wrong people there is conspiracy from US to some tribes in south Sudan

    repondre message

    • 5 July 2015 12:27, by Stephen kuach

      Just accept the peace both of you government and rebels,otherwise your country S.Sudan shall be taken by other nations infront of you in a broad daylight and nothing you can do,these nations are warning you to stop the war in which you’re slaughtering your own people,or you may end up losing the whole S.Sudan.

      repondre message

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