Home | News    Saturday 15 December 2018

U.S. imposes targeted sanctions on three people for fuelling South Sudan conflict

An armed South Sudanese government soldier stands near a village in Bor on January 26, 2014 (Photo AFP)
December 14, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - The United States on Friday imposed sanctions against three individuals two South Sudanese and an Israeli, accusing them of trading in weapons with Juba in violation of international sanctions and undermining peace.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Israel Ziv and Obac William Olawo were designated by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) "for being leaders of firms that supplied the Government of South Sudan with weapons and ammunition.

Ziv is also accused of supplying weapons to the rebels.

While Gregory Vasili, the former governor of Gogrial State, was designated by OFAC for brokering deals for the sale of military equipment to the South Sudanese government. Also, he provided arms and commanded a militia engaged in conflict with a competing clan.

"As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of those designated by OFAC, that is in the United States or the possession or control of a U.S. person, must be blocked and reported to OFAC," said the State Department.

In two separate reports released in September 2016 and March 2018, The Sentry, an investigation report Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, revealed the role of Vasili and Olawo in actions undermining peace and stability in South Sudan.

Gregory Vasili was involved in procurement and embezzlement scandals in its report “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay: Stopping the Looting and Destruction in South Sudan”. While Obac William Olawo’s role in the conflict is described in “Fueling Atrocities: Oil and War in South Sudan”.

Reacting to the sanctions, Prendergast welcomed the measures taken by the U.S. administration against the three individuals who are part of the system of grand corruption that fuels extreme violence in South Sudan and actually makes war profitable.

"This is exactly the way leverage should be built to support peace and fight corruption in Africa. Individual sanctions alone are inadequate," he further said.

The State Department vowed to use all available mechanisms to promote a permanent end to the brutal conflict in east African country in order to bring peace, freedom, and prosperity to the South Sudanese people.

South Sudan has been under an arms embargo imposed by the U.S. in February 2018 and the United Nations in July of the same year.

The government and the main armed opposition group and several other opposition factions signed a peace deal brokered by the IGAD on 12 September 2018.

(ST)