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U.S. imposes sanctions on South Sudan’s First Vice President

January 8, 2019 (WASHINGTON) - The United States Treasury Department imposed individual sanctions on South Sudanese First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, for his involvement in the killing of political activists.

South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai addresses the general debate of the UN General Assembly (UN Photo)

"As First Vice President, Deng reportedly arranged and directed the disappearance and deaths of human rights lawyer Samuel Dong Luak (Dong) and SPLM-IO member Aggrey Idry (Aggrey)," said the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

According to the OFAC, the first vice-president who had broken away from the SPLM-IO directed the murder of the two activists thinking he consolidates his position in the government of President Salva Kiir and would weaken support for opposition leader Riek.

"(He) had regularly sent his own security officials to monitor and plan the abduction of SPLM-IO members located outside of South Sudan, " said the statement adding he wanted to send a clear message to all SPLM-IO members that they were not safe even outside of the country.

On10 December 2019, the US Treasury Department designated already South Sudanese individuals for their involvement in the death of Dong and Aggrey.

The sanctions against the first vice-president are implemented under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuses and corruption

The sanctions freeze Gai’s U.S. assets and generally prohibit Americans from doing business with him.

The statement said that the Gai’s attempt to silence the opposition party is derailing South Sudan’s ability to implement the peace agreement

“The United States calls on all nations to exclude from the international financial system those who jeopardize South Sudan’s future,” . said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.

The Treasury stressed that Washington will not hesitate to target those who have perpetuated the conflict and "will continue to apply pressure on the senior leadership of South Sudan to take concrete measures to bring peace and stability to the country".

(ST)