U.N. Security council blacklists six rival South Sudan generals

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday blacklisted six rival generals in South Sudan for “fueling the ongoing conflict and contributing to the devastating humanitarian crisis” in the world’s newest state, the United States said.

The men, three from either side of South Sudan’s conflict, are the first to be listed by the Security Council’s South Sudan sanctions committee, which operates by consensus. They are now subjected to a global travel ban and asset freeze.

“As the members of the Security Council demonstrated today, those who commit atrocities and undermine peace will face consequences,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in a statement.

The United States, supported by Britain and France, made the U.N. sanctions proposal. The United States and the European Union have already imposed sanctions on some rival commanders.

South Sudan plunged into civil war in December 2013 when a political crisis sparked fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy Riek Machar. The conflict has reopened ethnic fault lines that pit Kiir’s Dinka people against Machar’s ethnic Nuer forces.

Thousands have been killed and millions displaced. Several ceasefires have been agreed but broken. Talks are set to resume in mid-July to try to end the conflict in South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011.

The Security Council has long threatened to blacklist anyone undermining security or interfering with the peace process in South Sudan. Kiir said in March that the threat of international sanctions would not keep him from retaliating against his rival.

The United States supported Kiir until it lost confidence in 2013. Washington hoped he could oversee a stable, oil-producing, majority Christian state allied to the West in contrast to neighboring Muslim-led Sudan, which is hostile to Washington

“South Sudan’s political leadership has squandered the international goodwill that accompanied its independence and pursued political and economic self-interest that has produced only violence, displacement and suffering for the South Sudanese people,” Power said.

The men sanctioned on the government side are: Major-General Marial Chanuong Yol Mangok, commander of Kiir’s guard unit; sector one commander Lieutenant-General Gabriel Jok Riak; and third division commander Major-General Santino Deng Wol.

On the rebel side, the blacklisted men are: Major-General Simon Gatwech Dual, chief of general staff for the opposition forces; Major-General James Koang Chuol, commander of the opposition special division; and Major-General Peter Gadet, the deputy chief of staff of operations for the opposition forces.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio