photo by jon nicholson

feature story - Fueling Atrocities: Oil and War in South Sudan

march 5th, 2018

Note: This brief was originally published on The Sentry.

South Sudan’s elite is using the country’s oil wealth to get rich and terrorize civilians, according to documents reviewed in an ongoing investigation by The Sentry, the investigative initiative co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast.

Little has been known about the financial machinery that makes South Sudan’s continuing war possible, but documents obtained by The Sentry appear to shed new light on how the country’s main revenue source—oil—is used to fuel militias and ongoing atrocities, and how a small clique continues to get richer while the majority of South Sudanese suffer or flee their homeland because of the ongoing, devastating conflict.

The war in South Sudan, which has featured the use of child soldiers, rape as a weapon of war, and mass atrocities, has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and has left more than 4 million people displaced.

J.R. Mailey, Special Investigations Director at The Sentry,said:“South Sudan’s leaders should be using South Sudan’s natural resources to benefit the population—but the documents we have obtained indicate that they have used the country’s oil to buy weapons, fund deadly militias, and hire companies owned by political insiders to support military operations that have resulted in horrific atrocities and war crimes.”

John Prendergast, Co-founder of The Sentry and Founding Director of the Enough Project,said: “Our investigation indicates that members of South Sudan’s ruling clique appear to be profiting from the war itself. In order to build the leverage needed for peace, the international community should target the assets of those responsible for continued violence and deny them from accessing the international banking system.

The long-term, ongoing investigation by The Sentry will continue to reveal and detail further findings in coming months.

Click here to read the full investigative brief.


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