- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- D.R. Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea Bissau
- Ivory Coast
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Bullets or Bread?
A proposal for an arms embargo upon South Sudan in December, was rejected by the UN Security Council.
A confidential UN report slams the government of South Sudan for spending more than half its budget on weapons and security as 100,000 people are dying of starvation. Salva Kiir's government has continued to make arms deals even as a famine was declared in parts of Unity state, where the famine is most acute.
The human misery is the result of famine caused primarily by ever-increasing government attacks in the area. Experts say another 1.1 million are near starvation. In addition, the number of people desperately needing food is expected to hit 5.5 million in the "lean season in July ... if nothing is done to curb the severity and breadth of the food crisis."
The government is compounding the food crisis by blocking access for humanitarian aid workers. Significant population displacement has helped exacerbate the famine.
"The bulk of evidence suggests that the famine in Unity state has resulted from protracted conflict and, in particular, the cumulative toll of repeated military operations undertaken by the government in southern Unity beginning in 2014," according to the report.
"Weapons continue to flow into South Sudan from diverse sources, often with the coordination of neighboring countries," said the report by a panel of experts who also found a "preponderance of evidence (that) shows continued procurement of weapons by the leadership in Juba" for the army, the security services, militias and other "associated forces."
From late March to late October 2016, oil revenues totaled about $243 million, according to calculations from the panel. At least half - "and likely substantially more" - of its budget expenditures are devoted to security issues including arms purchases.