South Sudan buys weapons during famine

South Sudan’s government is spending oil revenue on weapons as the country descends into a famine largely caused by President Salva Kiir’s military campaign, a confidential UN report says.
The report obtained by this reporter on Friday calls for an arms embargo on South Sudan — a measure that has been backed by the United States but was rejected by the Security Council during a vote in December.

“Weapons continue to flow into South Sudan from diverse sources, often with the coordination of neighbouring countries,” said the report by a UN panel of experts.
The experts found a “preponderance of evidence (that) shows continued procurement of weapons by the leadership in Juba” for the army, the security services, militias and other “associated forces.”

South Sudan derives 97 percent of its budget revenue from forward sales of oil. From late March to late October 2016, oil revenues totalled about $243 million, according to calculations from the panel.
At least half — “and likely substantially more” — of its budget expenditures are devoted to security including arms purchases, the 48-page report said.

The government continued to sign arms deals as a famine was declared in Unity State, where 100,000 people are dying of starvation and a further one million people are near starvation.
“The bulk of evidence suggests that the famine in Unity State has resulted from protracted conflict and, in particular, the cumulative toll of repeated military operations undertaken by the government in southern Unity beginning in 2014,” said the report.

Nyadual Goknyang, weakened by a prolonged lack

Nyadual Goknyang, weakened by a prolonged lack of food, lies on a bed inside a shelter in Ngop in South Sudan’s Unity State on March 10, 2017. Agencies photo

The government is blocking access for humanitarian aid workers, compounding the food crisis, while significant population displacement is also contributing to the famine.
An upsurge in fighting since July has devastated food production in areas that had been stable for farmers, such as the Equatoria region, considered the country’s breadbasket.
The total number of South Sudanese facing famine could rise to 5.5 million in July if nothing is done to address the food crisis, the experts said.

Weapons pour in
The report was released ahead of a special Security Council meeting on South Sudan on Thursday that will be chaired by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

The meeting could once again revive calls for an arms embargo, which was rejected despite warnings from the United Nations of a risk of genocide in South Sudan.

While the previous US administration pushed for a ban on weapons sales, President Donald Trump’s government has yet to make clear its stance on ending one of Africa’s worst conflicts.

Borders with Sudan and Uganda continue to be key entry points for weapons supplies to South Sudanese forces and some shipments are also entering from the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the report.

The panel cited information from high-ranking South Sudanese military and intelligence officers that Egypt had shipped military equipment, small arms, ammunition and armoured vehicles to South Sudan over the past year.

Experts are investigating the delivery this year of two L39 jets from Ukraine that were sold to Uganda, but may have ended up in South Sudan, as well as a contract with a Seychelles-based company for a very large quantity of armaments.

In comparison, opposition forces have received limited supplies of light weapons ammunition, the report said.
After gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and 3.5 million people displaced.

The United Nations is pushing regional leaders to exert pressure on Juba to end the violence that has turned tribal, pitting Kiir’s Dinka community against ethnic Nuer, Shilluk and other groups.

©Alleastafrica and Agencies

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1 comment

rezen Mar 19, 2017 at 10:57 pm

Subject: “South Sudan buys weapons during famine” Mar 19, 2017

Commentary, 19 Mar 2017
The six-word TITLE is genius– it represents six thousand words!

Let it be recorded a ‘thousand times’ that the self-appointed dictators of Africa were/are squandering peoples money on ‘efficient’ instrument for the liquidation of their own people. This is the ultimate crime of crimes. And let it also be recorded that the the 54-year old African Union of the DAY is a bystander CRIMINAL in the liquidation of African people. The representatives of the African countries of TODAY cannot hide from criminality on the pretext of following orders by their criminal Bosses of the DAY. They are equally responsible for the horrendous crime. The least they could have done is to make BIG NOISE at the so-called respectable United Nations Organization, which is efficient in sending highly paid observers and sample grains for the permanent backward people of the ‘Dark Continent’. And so, the so-called Anthropologist, Sociologist, etc have already come to their own conclusions about Africans — a popular view eternally detrimental to the kind, innocent, hospitable, affable, African People. It then becomes our history, with its destructive psychological negative effect that cannot be erased for generations to come. The crime perpetrated on the African Race is too deep to even contemplate narrating it by ordinary writers and journalists.

Let African history be kept by Africans for future generations of Africans about indigenous murderers who anointed themselves as leaders and masters of the ordinary people of Africa. This time, we have no “colonialism” to blame for the massacre of one’s population, but ourselves. Can we carry the guilt feeling — without going into pieces?

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