THE UN security council was set to vote yesterday on sanctions against military commanders on both sides of South Sudan’s civil war.
Diplomats revealed on Monday that the US was proposing an arms embargo and asset freeze on army General Paul Malong and Johnson Olony, a former general turned rebel leader.
The 15-member council had until 7pm London time yesterday to object to adding the generals’ names to the UN sanctions list.
The council imposed sanctions on six generals — three from each side — on July 1 for continuing the conflict which has killed thousands, created a humanitarian crisis and displaced over two million people.
South Sudan’s short history is closely tied to US politics. President Barack Obama pushed for the country’s secession from Sudan in 2011, going as far as to hold ballots in the independence referendum among the Sudanese immigrant community.
But Washington has since seemingly switched allegiances since the rebellion against Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) president Salva Kiir by his former vice-president Riek Machar’s SPLM-IO split in 2013.
Mr Kiir, whose trademark stetson hat was a gift from former US president George W Bush, only agreed to sign the ceasefire and power-sharing agreement with Mr Machar last month under pressure from the US.
SPLM-IO leaders accused the government of continuing attacks against rebel-held villages in southern Unity state the day after the agreement was signed — a claim denied by army spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer.