Another South Sudan official resigns, alleging graft, bias

AP News
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Posted: Feb 18, 2017 6:14 AM

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A senior officer in South Sudan's army has resigned alleging corruption and a military fractured along ethnic lines. It is the third top official in a week to leave while criticizing the government of President Salva Kiir as the East African nation's civil war continues amid warnings of genocide.

The statement dated Friday by Khalid Ono Loki, the former head of military courts, was obtained by The Associated Press. It describes a system of justice that is arbitrary, corrupt and discriminatory against those who are not part of the president's Dinka ethnic group.

Loki's statement accuses the head of South Sudan's army, Paul Malong, of being engaged in "relentless endeavors" to protect his Dinka tribesmen and calls for his resignation.

"You have indeed brought shame and an unfamiliar ethos to South Sudan that will only lead the country to more calamities," Loki wrote.

Lul Ruai Koang, an army spokesman, confirmed Loki's resignation Saturday.

Last weekend a top general, Thomas Cirillo Swaka, resigned while saying the military had become dominated by ethnic Dinka. On Friday the minister of labor, Gabriel Duop Lam, resigned and joined rebel leader Riek Machar, who is in exile in South Africa.

The resignations are a sign that Kiir is struggling to retain his coalition of support. South Sudan is experiencing hyperinflation, and the army has cited the lack of pay as a root cause of indiscipline.

Last weekend after Swaka resigned with a letter telling the president "you have disgraced yourself" by subjecting the country to ethnic bias, Kiir spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the AP there were no tensions within the military.

South Sudan's civil war began in December 2013, and a 2015 peace deal has failed to stop the fighting that has killed tens of thousands and created more than 1.5 million refugees.

The United Nations has warned that South Sudan is witnessing ethnic cleansing. An effort led by the United States to have the U.N. Security Council impose an arms embargo on the country failed late last year.