South Sudan government has reacted angrily after a US decision imposing fresh sanctions on senior members of government, a former official and three South Sudanese companies for undermining peace, security, or stability of the country.
According to the US State Department and Treasury Department on Wednesday, the sanctions targeted South Sudan’s deputy defence chief Malek Reuben, Information Minister Michael Makuei and former military chief of staff Paul Malong.
Ateny Wek Ateny, South Sudan’s presidential spokesman, told Radio Tamazuj that the decision which brought sanctions against Michael Makuei, Paul Malong and Malek Reuben shows the US administration’s ignorance about the situation of South Sudan.
“When you look into the reasons for the targeted sanctions on the three officials, they were sanctioned because they were doing their job. Malek Reuben was sanctioned because he bought guns for the army, and the purpose was to equip the national army, so he cannot be sanctioned,” he said.
He pointed out that Michael Makuei was not involved in planning and coordinating attacks and obstruction of humanitarian activities, saying the information minister does not command the army.
“The information minister Michael Makuei has the right to defense the government, so you cannot sanction someone because he is defending his government,” he said.
Ateny also denied reports that Malong was involved in actions or policies that threatened the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan.
The presidential spokesman described the decision as “unfortunate.”