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US sanctions South Sudan offices in move to pressure country's government

US sanctions South Sudan offices in move to pressure country's government
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The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday announced that it had sanctioned two South Sudan officials who it says have "perpetuated the conflict" in their country.

The sanctions are intended to put pressure on the South Sudan government to develop a unity government. Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro and Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Kuol Manyang Juuk were sanctioned for using the conflict to obtain “personal enrichment.”

“The United States stands by the people of South Sudan who continue to suffer under this political instability that has led to thousands of death,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Justin Muzinich said in a statement. “The South Sudanese deserve leaders who are committed to laying the groundwork for a successful, peaceful political transition.”

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Lomuro is accused of recruiting and organizing a local militia to attack opposition forces in South Sudan, while Juuk reportedly did not remove military forces from the battlefield as agreed to, increased violence with rival tribes and managed the training of tribal militias, according to the statement.

Last September, the South Sudanese president and opposition leader agreed to create a unity government by May. That deadline has been extended twice since, most recently on Nov. 7.

“A little over 30 days into the extended pre-transition period, the United States has yet to see concrete steps by the GoSS to create the political and security conditions conducive to formation of a unity government and adequate implementation of the peace deal,” the statement said referring to the government of South Sudan.

The statement notes the sanctions are not meant to be permanent.