South Sudan’s government is mainly to blame for famine in parts of the war-torn country, yet President Salva Kiir is still boosting his forces using millions of dollars from oil sales, according to a confidential United Nations report.
UN sanctions monitors said 97 percent of South Sudan’s known revenue comes from oil sales, a significant portion of which is now forward oil sales, and that at least half of the budget – “likely substantially more” – is devoted to security.
“Revenue from forward oil sales totaled approximately $243 million between late March and late October 2016,” the panel of UN monitors said in the report to the UN Security Council, seen by Reuters on Thursday.
“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,” the report said.
The United Nations has declared a famine in some parts of the world’s youngest country, where nearly half its population – some 5.5 million people – face food shortages. A civil war erupted in 2013 when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer, who has fled and is now in South Africa.
The United Nations says at least one quarter of South Sudanese have been displaced since 2013.
South Sudan’s government rejected the report on Friday.
The annual report of the sanctions monitors to the 15-member Security Council comes ahead of a ministerial meeting of the body on South Sudan next Thursday, which is due to be chaired by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
In December, the Security Council failed to adopt a US-drafted resolution to impose an arms embargo and further sanctions on South Sudan despite warnings by UN officials of a possible genocide. The UN monitors again recommended in their report that the council impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.
UN peacekeepers have been in South Sudan since 2011.