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Right body urges sanctions on S. Sudan’s top leaders

President Salva Kiir (R) embraces Taban Deng Gai after his swearing-in ceremony as FVP at the Presidential Palace in the capital of Juba, July 26, 2016 (Photo Reuters Jok Solumun)

October 9, 2017 (JUBA) - The Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) has urged the United Nations Security Council and the United States government to impose sanctions on South Sudan President Salva Kiir and First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai for allegedly instigating the violence that has blocked peace in the country.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune, CPJ’s coordinator Tito Anthony claimed President Kiir used Gai, a former rebel chief negotiator, to create instability by failing to implement the 2015 peace accord.

“The reason why president Kiir is to be sanctioned, it’s because he is using Taban Deng to fight the war on behalf of the government and Taban Deng will claim that it is his troop that are fighting with Riek Machar forces, not only that, but, the president is also supplying Taban Deng Gai with ammunition to fight the war and that is destruction,” Tito said on Monday.

He claimed Gai created the mess in the country and blocked the peace dividends, which allegedly makes him liable for sanctions.

“Taban must be sanctioned because the world is now planning on how to end this conflict and yet Taban Deng is sending his troops to go and fight in Pagak and Bieh state”, stressed the CPJ coordinator.

The official said President Kiir and his First Vice President, who both serve in the coalition government, must take responsibility for the massive destruction caused in the country as a result of the civil war.

“The implications are not only [about] sanctions, but one day they [Kiir and Gai] must face the court of law for their conspiracy against the people of South Sudan,” Tito further told Sudan Tribune.

Last month, the US government placed sanctions on three close associates of South Sudan’s president, saying they had personally profited from a climate of corruption in a government that has been called a kleptocracy.

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Gen. Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, the army’s deputy chief of staff in charge of military procurement; and Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s information minister. In addition, sanctions were placed on Paul Malong Awan, who was chief of staff of the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army until President Salva Kiir fired him in May.

Three companies owned or controlled by Riak also were sanctioned.

The Treasury Department said the sanctions were in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Sudan and the role of officials in undermining stability and peace.