Unites States government has slapped the South Sudanese warring parties with additional sanctions targeting two senior military officers on the two sides, accused of fuelling the ongoing 9-month long conflict.
- Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) jump from a vehicle while on patrol in the capital, Juba (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Major General Santino Deng Wol of South Sudan army, in charge of third military division and Major General James Koang Chuol, who was previously in charge of fourth army division but defected and joined the rebel faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-in-Opposition) became the latest targets.
In a statement released on Thursday by the US Treasury under-secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, David Cohen, accused the two generals of prolonging the violence in South Sudan.
"Both of the individuals we are designating today are prolonging the violent conflict in South Sudan and engaging in reprehensible violence," the statement partly reads.
The treasury department accused Wol of expanding the conflict and of obstructing peace, saying his troops continued to attack the rebel positions despite the 23 January cessation of hostilities agreement between the warring parties.
According to the treasury, Wol is accused of breaking the agreement with a series of military engagements in which his forces recaptured the towns of Mayom, Tor Abyad and Wang Kai from the rebels.
The statement also accused the rebel commander Koang of carrying out attacks against civilians in Unity state.
The rebel attacks "targeted civilians, including women and children, with killing, sexual violence and attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, and locations where civilians were seeking refuge," says the statement.
Washington in the past imposed sanctions on president Salva Kiir’s presidential guards commander, General Marial Cinuong and General Peter Gatdet who defected in December to the rebel group in Jonglei state while previously serving as the overall commander of the eighth army division.
The four generals are banned from travelling to US and their assets or financial transactions which may be in the US or related to US companies are frozen.
Generals Wol and Gatdet are also under sanctions by the European Union (EU), which also bans their movement to EU countries and freeze their assets.
The latest US sanction came a day after the United Kingdom threatened the two warring parties with regional sanctions unless they abide by the cessation of hostilities agreements they signed and speedily conclude the peace talks.
UK also hinted that the United Nations would impose sanctions on South Sudan.
However, Juba slammed the looming sanctions, describing them as a conspiracy of western strategy.
“We believe that threats of sanctions as a western strategy to bring peace while apportioning blames, even when they know every well that the government does not bear any responsibility in this senseless war created by Riek Machar and his group, will also affect other countries in the region”, Mark Nyipuoc, the deputy speaker of the national assembly told reporters Monday.
The rebels on their side downplayed the effect of the targeted sanctions on individual military officers, saying South Sudan government has re