South Sudan, Africa’s youngest country, is a sad story. Birthed in struggle and thereafter giving into ethnic tensions that later devolved into a civil war that looks about to begin again, peace is a foreign concept to most of the country’s citizens.
Tens of thousands have been killed since Africa’s youngest country gained independence in 2011. Mass rape has been used as both payment and weapon, civilians have been uprooted and continue to flee (racking up a total number that is over two million) and for those that remain in the country, almost half the population require food aid.
President Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan, and rebel leader Riek Machar, who was formerly the Vice President of Africa’s youngest country, played a huge part in the country’s breakaway from Sudan and later ended up on opposite sides of the battle line, struggling for control of the new country.
Report Claims: The Destruction of Africa’s Youngest Country Orchestrated For Profit
A report commissioned by actor George Clooney has accused the two men of ignoble reasons for their actions. The report accuses President Salva Kiir, opposition leader Riek Machar, and other top generals involved in the war in South Sudan of profiteering. Detailed in the report are pictures of luxury villas, said to be owned by politicians and generals in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Australia.
The report titled; War crimes shouldn’t pay: Stopping the looting and destruction in South Sudan; says that both President Kiir and Mr. Machar have luxurious homes in the same Lavington neighborhood of Nairobi. In one part, it says;
“Several of the most powerful politicians and generals in South Sudan appear to have accumulated significant wealth in the decade since the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the North-South war and laid the groundwork for the self-determination referendum that resulted in South Sudan’s independence in 2011.
“Much of the wealth that has been accumulated by these top leaders is in the form of high-end properties outside the country and extensive commercial holdings in both public sector and oil services contracting in South Sudan.”
The report found that members of the families of both President Kiir and Machar live in ‘luxurious homes’ outside South Sudan, including the shared Lavington neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya. President Kiir’s wife, his brother-in-law and at least seven of his children, including a 12-year-old son, had stakes in “a wide range of business ventures” in South Sudan.
It also says that the chief of staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, owns at least two luxurious villas in Uganda and a $2 million mansion in a gated community in Nairobi although he officially makes only about $45,000 a year.
The Sentry is the name of the group responsible for the report. It is the brainchild of founders George Clooney and John Prendergast (a rights activist and former United States government official). Apparently, the group’s focus is on fishing out the financial connections to endemic conflicts in some of Africa’s most troubled places, including Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
The behind the scenes view of South Sudan’s conflict is the first major project by the group and it shows that President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar may be enemies in South Sudan but they are privileged neighbors in Kenya.