US condemns corruption in South Sudan

2016-09-14 22:40
Actor George Clooney, human rights activist and co-founder of Sentry (AFP).

Actor George Clooney, human rights activist and co-founder of Sentry (AFP).

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Washington - The United States on Wednesday accused South Sudan's leaders of "pillaging government coffers," as Washington endorsed a report on the corruption fuelling the country's civil war.

On Monday, Hollywood actor George Clooney and rights activist John Prendergast released detailed research on South Sudanese corruption compiled by their watchdog group The Sentry.

Later, the pair met with President Barack Obama at the White House to share their concerns and on Wednesday the State Department endorsed the report and warned that Washington could take action.

"The Department of State is pursuing measures it can take to deter corruption by South Sudanese officials," its spokesperson Mark Toner said.

"We are working closely with The Sentry to ensure the information it has collected is used to that end."

The United States is a major aid donor to South Sudan and was the key backer of its struggle for independence, which was won in 2011.

But it has been deeply disappointed by the country's descent into chaos and civil war between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar.

"While leaders have been pillaging government coffers, international donors including the United States have remained steady supporters of the South Sudanese people," Toner said.

"And we are deeply disappointed that their leaders have failed to put aside personal power struggles and individual enrichment for the good of their people."

The result of a two-year inquiry, The Sentry's report details how Kiir and rebel leader Machar profit from a three-year conflict that has driven 2.5 million people from their homes and left half the population dependent on food aid to survive.

The "key catalyst" of the war was "competition for the grand prize - control over state assets and the country's abundant natural resources," notably its oil, it said.

Kiir's government spokesperson has dismissed the allegations as "completely rubbish".

Read more on:    the sentry  |  riek machar  |  george clooney  |  salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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