News / Africa

US Imposes Sanctions on Military, Rebel Leader in S. Sudan

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Geneva, April 17, 2014.
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Geneva, April 17, 2014.
Mike Richman
The United States has announced its first sanctions against South Sudan, where clashes between pro- and anti-government forces have left thousands of people dead since mid-December.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is imposing financial penalties on Marial Chanuong, a government military commander, and Peter Gadet, a military leader loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.

During a Tuesday appearance with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Kerry said both men are responsible for "perpetrating unthinkable violence against civilians."

"We will do our utmost to prevent South Sudan from plunging back into the violence and despair that tore that country apart for so long," he said.

Ashton said the EU also is considering sanctions against Juba.

"I'm worried that this country is on the brink of what could be a civil war, ethnically motivated," she said. "The prospects for famine and a humanitarian disaster are really looming large now, so we need to work together. We need to work to ensure that the leaders in South Sudan really do take the action that you've identified they need to."

The sanctions will freeze any assets the two men have in the United States. The penalties also will bar U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with them.

Kerry visited South Sudan last week and met with President Salva Kiir, who agreed to attend peace talks his rival, Machar, in Ethiopia.

Earlier Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Machar had also agreed to attend talks in Addis Ababa.

Speaking in South Sudan's capital, Juba, on Tuesday, Ban stopped short of saying Machar would meet with South Sudan's president, who told reporters that he is ready to meet with Machar in the Ethiopian capital.

Ban said Machar cautioned he might not make it to Addis Ababa by Friday, the projected date for the meeting, because of his remote location.

Machar has been in hiding for months as rebel and government forces clash across South Sudan. More than 1.2 million people have been displaced by the fighting and ethnic violence.

The unrest stems from a power dispute between Kiir and Machar, which worsened in December. The two sides signed a cease-fire agreement in January, but fighting has continued.

On Monday, both sides signed an agreement to facilitate the delivery of aid to populations in need, and to consider a "month of tranquility" so people can plant crops and care for livestock.

The U.N. has warned of a possible famine in South Sudan unless people can safely return to their fields. President Kiir said Tuesday that there would be a "serious disaster ... if we do not allow our people to cultivate now."

The U.N. refugee agency reports that 11,000 South Sudanese have crossed the border into Ethiopia since Saturday, fleeing clashes between government and rebel troops in the Upper Nile region.

The agency says 315,000 South Sudanese overall have fled to neighboring countries since violence erupted in December, while more than 920,000 others are displaced internally.

Tens of thousands are sheltering at U.N. bases across the country.

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by: Stephenpam from khartoum
May 08, 2014 1:57 AM
It is well known world wide that the american policy on resources of other countries because of oil in south sudan

by: Sam Dave from: USA
May 07, 2014 9:52 PM
Brother, Bol, you need to study South Sudan's crisis what's caused the war. Let me tell you this war is nonsense, senseless, unthinkable and fueled by greedy leaders like Kiir, Machar, Canuok, and Gadget plus Makuei who was involved himself into crisis. Look, Riek Machar is willing to have peace because he's sleeping under the trees and the rain is raining when he was forced out of Juba city and Kiir enjoyed his 4.5 billion bed and portfolios under the bed with full of billions of dollars that you even don't know and his family are living in Uganda and Kenya countries, drinking beer. But you get mad about US sanctions against president with his followers. Do the President care about his country people? You don't USA. USA try to safe you from president and former Vice president who fight over the office money. Let us pray together for peace and let mighty South Sudan get peace from selfish leaders. One day, one time God will hear us

by: Bol from: Bor
May 07, 2014 4:57 AM
The US is clearly anti-South Sudanese government. How on earth is a South Sudanese army general defending his people and his country be put on par with a rebel without cause?

When ever the rebel capture a town from the government of South Sudan, the US keeps quiet and when the government capture the town from the rebel the US gets outrage.

The US still doesn't know that South Sudanese in the don't give a damn about the US any more. South Sudan and South Sudanese people are now looking East.

To hell with the US.

by: Tobias
May 07, 2014 12:22 AM
"Unthinkable violence against civillians" so say the EU Foreign Policy Chief? Perhaps a study of Gukhurahundi, Murambatsvina, 2008 Elections and other events in Zimbabwe could enlighten peoples thinking as to humanitarian issues, which have "escaped" with the passage of time, but have all been recorded, for their benefit.

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