‘Sanctions against Futuyo meant to tarnish his image’

The governor of Western Equatoria has challenged the US government to name the soldiers who committed human rights violations when he was the SPLA-IO Sector VI commander in the state.

On Tuesday, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control named Alfred Futuyo as two of the South Sudan’s leaders it accuses of involvement in conflict-related sexual violence in the area between 2018 and 2021.

In 2018, it says forces under Futuyo’s command carried out numerous attacks in Western Equatoria that resulted in the abduction of 887 civilians, of whom at least 43 were raped.

The Biden administration also accused James Nando, a major general in SSPDF, of overseeing forces that raped hundreds of women and girls between 2018 and 2021.

As a result of these actions, all property and interests in property of those designated today that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and all U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the designated individuals, it states.

Reacting to the sanctions, Futuyo said he could not accept or reject the report based on the fact that South Sudan was in crises from December 2013 to September 2018 and any of the aforementioned crimes might have happened.

However, he said he never commanded any forces  to kill or engage in conflict and sexual violence against civilians.

“There was no any complaint raised to the SPLA-IO base regarding rape or any of the above crimes that the high command would investigate,” states Alex Digi, governor’s press secretary, in a statement seen by TRC.

He went on to describe the sanctions as policy used by Whitehouse to tarnish his image.

so if Gen. James Nando or any soldier who might used a sole power to executed any of such crimes during conflict, he or she is responsible for it.

I am hereby calling upon the U.S. Department of The Treasury to convey an investigation and list out the names of IO soldiers who might have committed those crimes so that SPLA-IO Military Base Western Equatoria can free them to face the law,

“In other word, we referred this report as a policy applied by U.S. or other individuals to tarnish the image of H.E. Lt. Gen. Alfred Futuyo Karaba leadership in governance,” Digi says.

A September 2021 report by UNOCHA showed that a sub-national violence in Tambura County, Western Equatoria had displaced nearly 80,000 people with reports of civilians killed and wounded since June that year.

Many of the people displaced had fled to neighboring Western Bahr el Ghazal State. An estimated 45,000 people have fled to Ezo County, with thousands of others moving to Yambio town, Nagero, Namutina, Wau, Nzara and Mosso. Reports had also been received of people fleeing to the Central African Republic.

In addition, there were reports of civilian deaths, with their bodies left to decompose on the outskirts of Tambura, without a proper burial. An increasing number of unaccompanied and separated children were being reported. People’s homes and livelihoods had been destroyed by the recurring violence.