BRUSSELS - The European Union said it slapped a travel ban and asset freeze Thursday on two South Sudanese military leaders for committing atrocities and obstructing the peace.
The sanctions against the two, whose names will be released Friday when the sanctions take effect, follow six months of fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those behind his rival and former deputy Riek Machar.
More than 1.5 million people have been displaced and at least 10,000 people killed in the world's newest country amid what the EU said were "appalling human rights violations and crimes against humanity".
An existing arms embargo against South Sudan will remain in place, an official statement said.
EU diplomats refused to divulge the identities of the two, but one indicated the pair were on both sides of the conflict. "We do not take sides," the source said.
The EU said it was "unacceptable" that a ceasefire agreement signed January 23 and reconfirmed May 9 continued to be breached.
"The EU has therefore decided to adopt as a first step restrictive measures against individuals responsible for obstructing the IGAD-led peace process, breaching the ceasefire and committing egregious human rights violations." the statement said.
The war-torn nation marked three years of independence in Juba, with dancers putting on a short theatrical performance promoting unity in South Sudan and hope for a peaceful future. PHOTO/AFP
Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museeveni (yellow neck-tie) attended the independence celebrations. PHOTO/AFP
Meanwhile, on the same day, opposition leader Riek Machar (C) addressed a press conference at the Radisson Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, flanked by Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth (R), former South Sudan ambassador to the US who recently defected from the government of President Salva Kiir, and De-Mabior Garang. Machar gave remarks and answered questions about the current situation in South Sudan. PHOTO/AFP
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EU sanctions S.Sudan military chiefs for atrocities