South Sudan elites enriched during war


Thousands of civilians have been sheltering in a UN base in Juba

South Sudan’s political and military elite have made themselves rich while the country has struggled under a civil war of their making, a report says.

Commissioned by actor George Clooney, the document accuses President Salva Kiir, opposition leader Riek Machar, and top generals of profiteering.

It follows the trail of money with links to the families of both Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar.

Those named have not yet responded to the allegations.

The BBC is seeking comment from them.

The report’s authors spent two years collecting evidence and testimony on behalf of a new investigative unit – called The Sentry – which was co-founded by the US actor.

Entitled War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay, the report has found that “top officials ultimately responsible for mass atrocities in South Sudan have at the same time managed to accumulate fortunes, despite modest government salaries”.

“Some have been involved in questionable business deals while others have apparently received large payments from corporations doing business in South Sudan.”

A fall-out between President Kiir and former Vice-President Machar – the most powerful members of their respective Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups – led to the civil war which erupted in December 2013.

Terrible atrocities have been carried out by both sides – often along ethnic lines.

Mass rape has been used as a weapon of war and United Nations reports have detailed human rights abuses.

Some 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes, and millions more need food aid.

When a peace deal between the two men fell apart amid heavy fighting off the streets of the capital Juba in July, any chance of a quick resolution to the crisis crumbled.

“This war is about rival factions of a kleptocratic network trying to gain control of the state,” said JR Mailey, the author of the report by The Sentry, which is a collaboration between The Enough Project, Not On Our Watch, and C4ADS.  -BBC

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