United States has slapped sanctions on two high ranking military officers and a government official of South Sudan for their roles in the country’s civil war.
U.S. Treasury said in a statement on Wednesday that it had sanctioned SPLA Deputy Chief of Defence for Logistics, Malek Reuben Riak Rengu; government spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth, and former army Chief of Staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan.
The sanctions also targeted three companies owned or controlled by Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13664, which authorizes sanctions against persons who threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan.
“As a result of today’s actions, all of these individuals’ and entities’ assets within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them,” reads the statement seen by ChimpReports.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury said it took “multiple actions” in response to the “continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation” in South Sudan and the role of officials of the South Sudanese Government in “undermining the peace, security, and stability of the country.”
Additionally, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to financial institutions concerning the potential movement of assets belonging to South Sudanese politically exposed persons.
It remains unclear if the sanctions would have any impact on the affected individuals as fighting continues to rage on in South Sudan.
The conflict has caused a huge refugee crisis in the region and left millions in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
U.S. officials said the actions send a clear message to those enriching themselves at the expense of the South Sudanese people that they will not let them exploit the U.S. financial system to move and hide the proceeds of their corruption and malign behavior.
Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence observed: “Treasury will forcefully respond to the atrocities ongoing in South Sudan by targeting those who abuse human rights, seek to derail the peace process, and obstruct reconciliation in South Sudan.”
As a result of today’s actions, all of these individuals’ and entities’ assets within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
Several other South Sudan officials have previously faced sanctions for committing human rights abuses.