Oil and War in South Sudan

During a disarm program, SPLA soldier find weapons During a disarm program, SPLA soldier find weapons © George Steinmetz/National Geographic

5 april, 2018

South Sudan’s leaders are using the country’s oil wealth to support militias implicated in widespread attacks against civilians

Organised crimes and core international crimes - namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes - are much more closely connected than it may initially appear. Experience shows that the commission of atrocities is often rendered possible by the action of vast criminal networks which, in addition to financing and facilitating international crimes, take advantage of ineffective governance, lack of State legitimacy, weak rule of law and widespread corruption to advance their activities.

Research conducted by The Sentry, an investigative initiative monitoring corrupt transnational networks in Africa, reveals intimate links between the petroleum sector in South Sudan and the commission of atrocities and horrific acts of violence perpetrated against civilians.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest State, gained its independence from the North in 2011. The civil war, ongoing since December 2013, has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and left over 4 million people internally and externally displaced. As reported by The Sentry, the conflict stems in large part from a long-running competition within the elite class for power and profits. These elites have built a predatory regime that has not only captured and controlled nearly all profit-generating sectors of the economy, but also played a central role in the current civil war.

The documents reviewed by The Sentry illustrate transactions and payments amounting to over 80 million dollars made to politicians, military officials, government agencies and private companies, many of which are directly linked to the government’s war effort. The inquiry details how top officials, from mid-2014 to mid-2015, used assets gained from South Sudan’s State oil company (Nile Petroleum Corporation, or Nilepet) to provide support to a group of Padang Dinka militias, implicated in atrocities committed against civilians. This support came in the form of weapons, fuel, equipment, funds, food and other supplies.

For more information, please read:

https://thesentry.org/reports/fueling-atrocities/

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