Both sides of conflict in South Sudan are expanding their weapons stockpiles and violating August’s peace deal, a group of experts reported to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
According to the report based on “credible and independent” sources, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir plans to triple the number of states while his former deputy Riek Machar boosts weapon supplies, thus both take risk to escalate the violence in the country amid worsening humanitarian crisis.
The ethnic conflict between Dinka and Nuer people of South Sudan has turned into a civil war in late 2013 when Kiir’s government forces began fighting with rebels supporting Machar, who was accused of planning a coup against Kiir.
Three years of fighting have cost at least 10,000 lives, while a recent African Union report highlighted the levels of brutality including cannibalism.
The UN experts said, 3.9 million people are faced with food shortages and famine, rapes, displacements, abductions and arsons in the oil rich country. Only in October over 50 cases of rape were reported.
“Credible reports” also documented civilians on getting shot in the swamps by government forces and child recruitment by a rebel group led by warlord Johnson Olony.
UN warned that the end of the rainy season in the near future could “portend a further escalation of violence in both Unity and Upper Nile states.”
After Wednesday’s meeting on the South Sudan crisis, British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft stated deep concerns over the conflict saying that the Security Council is considering taking punitive action to urge implementation of August’s peace deal in the world’s youngest state, South Sudan.
The council said they expect to receive an assessment report from their secretariat on how to structure South Sudan mission and support implementation of the peace deal.
However, the council needed to discuss “range of views” including imposing sanctions or arms embargo, Rycroft said.
A Russian deputy UN ambassador said the possibility of imposing sanctions or arms embargo on the country would not help the peace process. He said, “What we need is more patience and engagement, not trying to punish them.”
The security council previously subjected six rival generals to a global asset freeze and travel ban in South Sudan in July. Russia, Angola and Venezuela proposed US to add army chief and rebel commander of South Sudan to the ban list.