UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council will decide Tuesday whether to impose sanctions on a South Sudan army chief and a former army general who is now a rebel commander for continuing to fuel conflict in the world's newest nation, U.N. diplomats said Monday.
The United States proposed imposing an arms embargo and asset freeze on Gen. Paul Malong and ex-general Johnson Olony, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because their names have not been made public.
Fighting broke out in oil-rich South Sudan in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused his ex-vice president Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of trying to oust him. That sparked ethnic attacks and fighting that was supposed to end after Kiir reluctantly followed Machar and signed a peace deal on Aug. 26, but fighting has continued.
Malong was apointed chief of the general staff of the Sudan People's Liberation Army by Kiir in April 2014, while Olony joined Machar in early July after defecting from the army with his forces in April, according to published reports.
The 15-member council has until 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on Tuesday to object to adding the generals' names to the U.N. sanctions list. If there are no objections, the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against South Sudan will immediately add Malong and Olony to the list.
The council imposed sanctions on six generals — three from each side — on July 1 for continuing the conflict which has killed thousands, created a humanitarian crisis and displaced over two million people.
The United States, which was an early and vocal supporter of South Sudan's independence from neighboring Sudan, has tried to keep up pressure on the feuding parties, first to sign the peace agreement and now to implement it.