Africa-Press – South-Sudan. The Minister for Information, Communication Technology and Postal Services, Michael Makuei Lueth, has lashed out at the sanctions the United Kingdom has slapped on some individuals, saying they are concerted efforts by the west to obstruct peace.
Makuei was one of the nine South Sudanese leaders who were sanctioned with respect to the South Sudan Regulations 2019, which states that financial sanctions on South Sudan are effective after the United Kingdom exits the European Union.
When The City Review contacted Mr Makuei for an interview, he said he was in a meeting and could not respond. But Eye Radio quoted him saying sanctions were fashioned against the implementation of the peace agreement by the west.
“All these efforts have been asserted by individuals and policies of certain governments in the West in order to obstruct the implementation of the agreement because if the agreement is implemented and peace prevails in South Sudan they will lose their positions,” Makuei told Eye Radio.
“They target people whom they think are effective so that they bring down the efforts asserted by the President. Now, if I am sanctioned, I am sanctioned for what? I am sanctioned from going to Britain or are they sanctioned from doing what?” he questioned.
The Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Training of the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A), Daniel Mach, said the sanctions were old as of July 2014 and thus, were just updated.
According to Mach, the same people who are imposing sanctions on SSUF/A leader, Paul Malong, were the same people who facilitated his attendance at peace talks in Rome. He, however, exuded confidence that the move would not derail the peace talks.
“I don’t think it will affect the Rome Peace Talks, as the UK is a member of the Troika that is a peace partner. They have always given Paul Malong a visa to attend all these talks,” Mach said.
Sanctions for peace
According to the statement from the HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, the aim of the sanctions was “to bring peace, stability, and an end to the conflicts in South Sudan.”
The statement noted that those who were sanctioned participated in human rights violations, violations of international human rights law, obstruction of delivery of humanitarian aid, misappropriation of national funds, and activities that threaten peace, stability, and security.
“The regulations impose asset freezes, including on those persons who are, or have been, involved in the commission of serious human rights violations or abuse, violations of international humanitarian law, obstruction of the delivery or distribution of, or access to, humanitarian assistance,” it read.
“The misappropriation of South Sudanese state funds, and any other action, policy, or activity that threatens the peace, stability, and security of South Sudan or undermines efforts to resolve the political crisis and armed conflicts in South Sudan.”
The list of those sanctioned includes the Minister for Information, Michael Makuei Lueth; the former SSPDF Chief of General Staff, Gabriel Jok Riak Makol; the commander of presidential guards, Marial Chanuong Yol; Malek Reuben, the former Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics; Santino Deng Wol, the current Chief of SSPDF forces; the deceased rebel leader Peter Gatdet; the leader of the SPLM/A-IO Kit Gwang faction, Simon Gatwech Dual; James Koang Chuol and the leader of South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A).
The paper indicated that Mr Makuei was sanctioned for obstructing the political process in South Sudan by dragging the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).
He was accused of giving “inflammatory public statements” and “obstructing the work of the ARCSS joint monitoring and evaluation committee and the establishment of the ARCSS Transitional Justice Institutions.”
He has been further accused of obstructing the activities of the UN Regional Protection Force (RPF), violating human rights, citing restrictions on freedom of expression, as well as undermining steps towards the achievement of peace.
The reasons for sanctioning the leader of the South Sudan United Front/A Paul Malong Awan include the perpetuation of conflict in South Sudan. He is also accused of giving a directive for the killing of Dr Riek Machar (First Vice President), ordering SPLA forces to prevent the transport of humanitarian assistance.
The UK accuses Malong of attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals, displacement of civilians, detaining, raping and torturing civilians under his leadership.
Malong is said to have mobilised child soldiers named “Mathiang Anyoor” from his tribe. The UK added that he restricted access to investigation documents by UNMISS, JMEC, and CTSAMVM all done by SPLA, whom he commanded.
The leader of the Kit Gwang faction, Simon Gatwech Dual, is also accused of carrying out an attack in February 2015 in Jonglei State and March 2015. He is said to have been a setback to peace in Jonglei State through attacks on civilians.