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Retired Israeli General Denies South Sudan Arms Sales, Rejects U.S. Sanctions

Retired Israeli major general Israel Ziv has denied supplying weapons through shell companies to South Sudan, after the United States imposed sanctions on him and other entities for their alleged involvement in fomenting the nation’s civil war. A government spokesman in the capital Juba likewise claimed that President Salva Kiir had “never bought weapons and ammunition from [Ziv] as he [was] working in the agricultural sector here.” The U.S. State Treasury Department accused Ziv of using his consulting company Global CST as vehicle to sell an estimated $150 million in arms to both Kiir and his opponents. It also alleged that Ziv “planned to organize attacks by mercenaries on [local] oil fields and infrastructure in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve.” South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been embroiled in fighting since seceding from Sudan in 2011. Troops loyal to Kiir, a member of the ethnic Dinka majority, have for years been engaged in a brutal conflagration with armed groups supported by former vice president Riek Machar who is a member of the Nuer people. An estimated 400,000 civilians have been killed in the civil war, which has displaced millions and forced even more to the brink of starvation. After numerous failed cease-fire agreements, the warring sides in September signed another peace deal however clashes are ongoing in some regions. Notably, a 2016 United Nations report accused the Jewish state of helping to fuel the unrest, claiming that Israeli surveillance equipment was being used by intelligence officials in Juba to crack down on opponents and that Israeli-made Micro Galil automatic rifles were “present in larger numbers than before the outbreak of the conflict.”

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