By Deng Machol
Juba – the United States is taking action against 15 South Sudanese oil-related companies whose revenues have allegedly contributed to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan.
The State Department said in statement on March 21, seen by Pan African Visions that South Sudan’s government and “corrupt official actors” are using the revenue to purchase weapons, fund militias and undermine peace, which prolong a civil war in the East Africa youngest nation.
The United States government said the names of these specific entities will be published in the Federal Register on March 22.
This also comes after the Enough Project and Global Witness named some individuals in the government use oil money to fuel conflict.
According to the President Trump’s administration, this action will force the government and companies to show that the country’s oil will benefit its people and not enrich corrupt elites or fuel violence.
The US said the listed entities are a source of substantial revenue for the Government of South Sudan.
“Unfortunately, the South Sudanese Government, and corrupt official actors, use this revenue to purchase weapons and fund irregular militias that undermine the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan rather than support the welfare and current emergency food needs of South Sudanese people,” the US said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We call on the region and broader international community to join us in limiting the financial flows that fuel the continuing violence in the country,” it read in part
The oil companies that have been listed by the US Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce includes, Ascom Sudd Operating Company; Dar Petroleum Operating Company; DietsmannNile; Greater Pioneer Operating Co.Ltd; Juba Petrotech Technical Services Ltd; Nile Delta Petroleum Company; Nile Drilling and Services Company; Nile Petroleum Corporation; Nyakek and Sons; Oranto Petroleum; Safinat Group; SIPET Engineering and Consultancy Services; South Sudan Ministry of Minning; South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum and Sudd Petroleum Operating Co.
The U.S. and other companies will now need a license to export, re-export, or transfer exports of any U.S.-origin goods or technology to the listed entities.
“By placing these entities on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List, the United States will impose a license requirement on all exports, re-exports, and transfers of any U.S.-origin items to those entities,” US Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in the statement.
In February this year, the Trump administration imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan.
This is the latest attempt to hold accountable those accused of spoiling peace and commit human rights violations in South Sudan.
The Sentry, a group co-founded by actor George Clooney, accused South Sudan’s government in a recent report of funneling cash from the state-owned oil company Nilepet to militias accused of committing atrocities.
The move, it explained, would now mean U.S., as well as non-US companies, will now need a license to export, re-export, or transfer exports of any US-origin goods or technology to the listed entities.
“By placing these entities on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List, the United States will impose a license requirement on all exports, re-exports, and transfers of any U.S.-origin items to those entities,” said US Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert in a statement.
South Sudan government is not yet responding to US statement, but the observers said the move is an important step in the search for peace in South Sudan as the next round of the South Sudan peace talk’s approaches.
South Sudan got the lion’s share of the oil when it split from Sudan in July 2011, but it’s only export route is through Sudan, giving Khartoum leverage and leading to ongoing pricing disputes.
Oil production in South Sudan has been affected by the conflict that erupted in 2013 after a political disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy, Riek Machar, triggered war.
The war in South Sudan, which has featured the use of child soldiers, rape as a weapon of war, and mass atrocities, has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and has left over 2 million people displaced.
It said it expects the government, as well as the armed opposition, to fulfill their commitments to IGAD and the people of South Sudan by ceasing “hostilities, allow unimpeded humanitarian access, and pursue a negotiated peace in good faith”.
“The government of South Sudan must not squander that generosity and should take concrete steps to provide for the vast needs of the South Sudanese people,” statement said in part.
According to the statement, this action reflects the U. S commitment to doing all it can to protect the innocent people of South Sudan.