The United States Government has imposed sanction on the South Sudan First Vice President, Gen. Taban Deng for ordering the execution of the members of armed opposition group of Dr. Riek Machar.
The US Treasury Department on Wednesday announced the designation of Gen. Taban, who replaced Machar in 2016 when the latter fled capital Juba after a deadly presidential palace gunfire which resulted into the collapse of the unity government.
“Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned the First Vice President of South Sudan, Taban Deng Gai (Deng) for his involvement in serious human rights abuse, including the disappearance and deaths of civilians,” said part of the statement.
Treasury Deputy Secretary, Justin Muzinich accused Taban of dividing and sowing seeds of distrust within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) and broader Nuer community, which has extended the conflict in South Sudan and deteriorated the reconciliation and peace process.
He said the Government of South Sudan’s refusal to create political space for dissenting voices from opposition parties, ethnic groups, civil society, or media has been a key factor in the country’s inability to implement a peace agreement and ongoing acts of violence against civilians.
“Taban Deng Gai’s attempt to silence the opposition party is derailing the country’s ability to implement a peace agreement. The United States calls on all nations to exclude from the international financial system those who jeopardize South Sudan’s future,” said Muzinich.
The above move is pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.
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) who were kidnapped from neighboring and first detained at the notorious Blue House manned by the National Intelligence Service.
Deng reportedly directed the killings to solidify his position within President Kiir’s government and to intimidate members of the SPLM-IO.
The designation of Deng follows the December 10, 2019, designations of five South Sudanese individuals who were also involved in the disappearance and reported deaths of Dong and Aggrey.
Deng is said to have regularly sent his own security officials to monitor and plan the abduction of SPLM-IO members located outside of South Sudan, and it was believed that Deng wanted to send a clear message to all SPLM-IO members that they were not safe even outside of South Sudan and that they must support him.
He is being designated for being responsible for, being complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in serious human rights abuse.