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 Treasury Sanctions Individuals Responsible for Continued Violence in South Sudan


Actions Target South Sudanese Military and Opposition Commanders

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated South Sudan military commander Gabriel Jok Riak and opposition commander Simon Gatwech Dual pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13664 for threatening the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan and for expanding or extending the conflict or obstructing peace talks or processes in South Sudan.  These two individuals are also being designated for being leaders of groups whose members are involved in sanctionable activities.  This action follows on Wednesday’s listing by the United Nations (UN) of Jok Riak, Gatwech Dual, and four other individuals previously designated by OFAC – Peter Gadet, Marial Chanuong Yol Mangok, James Koang Chuol, and Santino Deng Wol – under UN Security Council Resolution 2206.

“As leaders of opposing groups in South Sudan, both Gabriel Jok Riak and Simon Gatwech Dual are responsible for perpetrating violence and breaching ceasefire agreements,” said Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith.  “Today’s action taken in coordination with our international partners underscores that the United States strongly condemns anyone, on either side of the conflict, who exacerbates the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, and we will work to thwart anyone who helps fuel violence in the region.”

The President signed E.O. 13664 on April 3, 2014 to address the cycle of violence that has claimed thousands of lives in South Sudan since December 2013.  This E.O. authorizes Treasury to impose sanctions on those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, obstruct the peace process, target peacekeepers, or are responsible for human rights abuses or other atrocities in South Sudan.  Today’s action is the third time OFAC has sanctioned individuals under E.O. 13664, and the first time such action has been coordinated with UN sanctions listings.  As a result of today’s action, U.S. persons anywhere in the world are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Jok Riak and Gatwech Dual, and any assets of these persons that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. 

Gabriel Jok Riak

Jok Riak has been designated for engaging in actions that expand or extend the conflict in South Sudan, or obstructed peace talks or processes, and for being a leader of forces who also engaged in actions that expand or extend the conflict in South Sudan, or obstructed peace talks or processes.

Jok Riak is the commander of Sector One of the South Sudanese military, known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).   Sector One operates primarily within Unity State, a province in South Sudan, and consists of SPLA Divisions Three, Four, and Five.  SPLA Division Three is led by Santino Deng Wol, whom OFAC designated in September 2014. 

In January 2014, the Government of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) signed a Cessation of Hostilities agreement, committing to stop all military actions and any other actions that may undermine the peace process in South Sudan.   Then in early May 2014, forces led by Jok Riak recaptured Bentiu, the capital of Unity State – an action that violated this agreement.  Both parties later agreed to recommit to the January peace agreement.  However, on the same day that this agreement was reached, SPLA forces engaged SPLA-IO fighters who had earlier attacked SPLA positions near Bentiu and in the northern oil regions of South Sudan.   

Jok Riak has reportedly assisted in arming and mobilizing as many as 1,000 youths to supplement traditional SPLA forces, and he has reportedly sought to have tanks repaired and modified for use against SPLA-IO forces.  In late 2014, heavy weapons and thousands of troops were brought into or redeployed within Sector One’s area of responsibility to combat the SPLA-IO. 

Since late April 2015, SPLA forces under Sector One and Jok Riak’s command have been conducting a full-scale offensive against SPLA-IO forces in Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile States in violation of multiple ceasefire agreements’ requirements to protect civilians and prohibitions on military operations.  This offensive has reportedly resulted in targeted violence against civilians, grave human rights abuses, and destruction of villages, leading to the displacement of more than 100,000 people.  Additionally, the SPLA has reportedly denied freedom of movement to an international monitoring team based in Bentiu – an action that also constitutes a violation of the various ceasefire agreements.  As commander of Sector One, Jok Riak is responsible for both the ongoing SPLA offensive and the denial of freedom of movement to the Bentiu monitoring team in Unity State.

Simon Gatwech Dual

Gatwech Dual has been designated for engaging in actions that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, and for being a leader of forces that have also engaged in actions that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan and targeted civilians, including women and children, through acts of violence. 

Gatwech Dual is the SPLA-IO’s Chief of General Staff and was previously its commander for Jonglei State.  In late April 2014, forces under Gatwech Dual’s command engaged in an offensive in Jonglei State and advanced on Bor, Jonglei’s capital.  In early 2015, Gatwech Dual was reportedly responsible for an attack in Jonglei State, and as of March 2015, Gatwech Dual tried to destroy the peace in Jonglei State through attacks on the civilian population. 

In late April 2015, Gatwech Dual was reportedly involved in planning and coordinating surprise attacks against South Sudanese government forces in Upper Nile State.  Gatwech Dual allegedly ordered units under his command to kill prisoners of war, women, and children.  

For identifying information on the individuals designated today, click here​.


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