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Famine-Hit South Sudan Buys Arms With Oil Money, UN Report Says

The government of war-torn famine-stricken South Sudan is using at least half of its revenues from oil sales to acquire weapons, despite the dramatic political, economic and humanitarian crises in the country, Reuters says, quoting a confidential report by the panel of UN monitors it has seen.

According to the UN sanctions monitors, 97 percent of the total known revenues of South Sudan come from oil sales – many of which are now forward sales – and at least half of that revenue, and “likely substantially more”, is going towards security.

According to the confidential report seen by Reuters:

Revenue from forward oil sales totaled approximately $243 million between late March and late October 2016.”

The report also states that “Despite the scale and scope of the political, humanitarian, and economic crises, the panel continues to uncover evidence of the ongoing procurement of weapons by the ... Government for the SPLA (South Sudanese army), the National Security Service, and other associated forces and militias.

All participants in the conflict continue to violate human rights, the UN monitors say, “with near complete impunity and a lack of any credible effort to prevent these violations or to punish the perpetrators,” as quoted by Reuters.

Earlier this year, the South Sudanese government and three humanitarian agencies declared a famine in some parts of the country as the newly independent nation struggle to bring oil back online. This “man-made” human tragedy is a result of three-year civil war and has created an economic crisis of massive proportions, leaving nearly five million hungry.

Related: Saudi Arabia Tries To Reassure Markets After Oil Price Plunge

The UN Security Council is due to meet later this month, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and AU High Representative for South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konaré are expected to brief the Council in the meeting chaired by UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson.

“Amidst an unraveling political process and ongoing fighting in various parts of the country, the security and humanitarian environment in South Sudan has reached near-catastrophic levels. More than 1.5 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries,” the Security Council said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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