S Sudan to take action over kleptocracy report


South Sudan’s government says it will take legal action against a US-based watchdog that has accused the leaders of the country’s warring sides of amassing fortunes during a nearly three-year conflict that has left tens of thousands dead, according to Al Jazeera.

Leaders of the two sides responsible for mass killings and rapes in the South Sudan conflict have amassed enormous wealth inside and outside the country, at least some of it illegally, according to an investigative report released on Monday by a Washington advocacy group, The New York Times reports:

The families and top associates of the principal opponents in the conflict, President Salva Kiir and his rival and former vice president, Riek Machar, own multimillion-dollar properties, drive luxury cars and stay at expensive hotels, “all while much of their country’s population suffers from the consequences of a brutal civil war and, in many places, experiences near-famine conditions,” according to the report…The report, by the Sentry, a partnership of rights advocates and policy experts, was based partly on United Nations documents and other official sources of information. Its authors said it had taken nearly two years to complete.

“The key catalyst of South Sudan’s civil war has been competition for the grand prize,” the report says, “control over state assets and the country’s abundant natural resources — between rival kleptocratic networks led by President Kiir and [former] Vice President Machar.”

“The simple fact is they’re stealing the money to fund their militias to attack and kill one another,” actor George Clooney (right) told a press conference in Washington yesterday before a meeting with Barack Obama.

“The evidence is thorough, it is detailed and it is irrefutable. It involves arms dealers, international lawyers, international banks, international real estate and it is because of these international actors that we are also able to provide solutions to help end this criminal behaviour to protect innocent civilians,” he said.

Speaking to VOA after a recent Congressional hearing, Ambassador Princeton Lyman (left), the former U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, said observers should consider a comprehensive approach when considering the role of Machar.

“You have to remember that Ambassador Booth also talked about a more inclusive government and the question is how do you get to a more inclusive government without more of the supporters of Riek Machar, whether he is personally or otherwise is involved in the government,” said Lyman, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy.

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