South Sudan slams U.S. sanctions
South Sudan hit out at new U.S. sanctions against several of its senior officials on Thursday, saying they only served to “derail” the troubled country’s peace process.
The U.S. imposed the new sanctions on Wednesday targeting three officials and several companies they said had played a part in threatening the fledgling African nation’s peace.
The Treasury Department placed sanctions on Gen. Malek Rengu, the army’s Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of military procurement, and three of his companies.
Sanctions were also imposed on Paul Awan, the former Army Chief, and Information Minister, Michael Lueth.
Reacting on Thursday, Lueth, slammed the action taken against him and his colleagues, saying: “U.S. sanctions were imposed purposely to spoil and derail peace implementation.’’
Lueth also accused the U.S. of trying to implement regime change in one of the world’s newest nations.
“The U.S. government has been behind regime change in South Sudan. Sanctions are no surprise to us,” he said.
South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011, has been engulfed by a military conflict since a split between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President, Riek Machar, escalated in late 2013.
Tens of thousands have been killed and two million have been displaced within the country.
“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,” said Sigal Mandelker, U.S. Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in announcing the sanctions.