South Sudan Government to Blame for Famine, Still Buying Arms: U.N. Report

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Women and children wait to be registered prior to a food distribution carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Thonyor, Leer state, South Sudan, February 26, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola REUTERS

South Sudan’s government is mainly to blame for famine in parts of the war-torn country, yet President Salva Kiir is still boosting his forces using millions of dollars from oil sales, according to a confidential United Nations report.

U.N. sanctions monitors said 97 percent of South Sudan’s known revenue comes from oil sales, a significant portion of which is now forward oil sales, and that at least half of the budget – “likely substantially more” – is devoted to security.

“Revenue from forward oil sales totaled approximately $243 million between late March and late October 2016,” the panel of U.N. monitors said in the report to the U.N. Security Council, seen by Reuters on Thursday.

“Despite the scale and scope of the political, humanitarian, and economic crises, the panel continues to uncover evidence of the ongoing procurement of weapons by the … Government for the SPLA (South Sudanese army), the National Security Service, and other associated forces and militias,” the report said.

The United Nations has declared a famine in some parts of the world’s youngest country, where nearly half its population – some 5.5 million people – face food shortages. A civil war erupted in 2013 when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer, who has fled and is now in South Africa.

“The bulk of evidence suggests that the famine … has resulted from protracted conflict and, in particular, the cumulative toll of military operations undertaken by the SPLM/A in Government in southern Unity state; denial of humanitarian access, primarily by the SPLM/A in Government; and population displacement resulting from the war,” the report said.

The United Nations says at least one quarter of South Sudanese have been displaced since 2013.

The annual report of the sanctions monitors to the 15-member Security Council comes ahead of a ministerial meeting of the body on South Sudan next Thursday, which is due to be chaired by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

While the previous U.S. administration of President Barack Obama was heavily involved in the birth of South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and led Security Council efforts to try to end the civil war, the policy of new U.S. President Donald Trump toward the African state is unclear.

In December, the Security Council failed to adopt a U.S.-drafted resolution to impose an arms embargo and further sanctions on South Sudan despite warnings by U.N. officials of a possible genocide. The U.N. monitors again recommended in their report that the council impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.

The Security Council set up a targeted sanctions regime for South Sudan in March 2015 and has blacklisted six generals – three from each side of the conflict – by subjecting them to an asset freeze and travel ban.

The U.N. monitors said all parties to the conflict continue to commit widespread human rights violations “with near complete impunity and a lack of any credible effort to prevent these violations or to punish the perpetrators.”

U.N. peacekeepers have been in South Sudan since 2011.

©Reuters

1 COMMENT

  1. Subject: “South Sudan Government to Blame for Famine, Still Buying Arms: U.N. Report” Mar 17, 2017

    Commentary. 17 Mar 2017

    The closing line of the news item is interesting >>> ” U.N. peacekeepers have been in South Sudan since 2011.” It is a declaration of fact but ingeniously begs the question i.e.WHAT DID THE “U.N. peacekeepers” accomplish during the last six years? Let us be honest. The simple answer is: NOTHING i.e the ordinary population of South Sudan are still denied the basic human essential needs in Life.

    Now, let us go back to the TITLE of the news item and repeat it here >>> “South Sudan Government to Blame for Famine, Still Buying Arms: U.N. Report” Is this a new revelation? Is this the best that the U.N. can do for Africa? For heave’s sake, every South African; every country in the entire Continent of Africa; and other bystander countries in the world know it very well. The negative image of OUR AFRICA is sketched deeply in the minds of the rest of the World.

    What do WE AFRICANS then do in the glaring sad reality of our existence (NOT ‘LIVING’)? First and foremost we have to accept that WE ARE ON OUR OWN IN THE VOYAGE AHEAD. Following that acceptance, WE must also swallow the bitter ‘pills’ that African Leaders, along with the fifty-four year old OAU and AU, have all betrayed Africa for their own individual comfort and grandeur. As the saying goes, the people of Africa were left outside in the freezing cold’

    Where do we go from here? The answer is simple: appeal to the African Intellectuals of the highest level of modern education — custodian of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph D) Degrees — in various field of endeavour to get together to SAVE AFRICA. If they are not capable of meeting that challenge, then the simple conclusion is to bid Africa: Adieu. Let it be on our conscious forever that Africa will then be taken over by others openly who would appreciate the SPACE and precious NATURAL RESOURCES — and Africans will remain at their chosen bottom of the “ladder” of Life. THE END

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