South Sudan minister refers to UN body as enemy of peace

South Sudan Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, talking to Al-Jazeera English (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

April 7th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A South Sudan minister has referred to the UN commission on human rights as an enemy of peace during an interview with the Doha-based Al Jazeera English channel denying a report last month by the commission accusing the state-own Nilepet of funding the tribal conflict.

In a 212-page report in March, the UN rights body accused the state-owned oil firm of fueling atrocities against civilians saying the “Nilepet has been used repeatedly by the South Sudanese government as an instrument to finance the ongoing inter-ethnic armed conflict in the country.”

“The state-owned Nilepet oil company’s operation have been characterized by a total lack of transparency and independent oversight, allegedly diverting oil revenues into the coffers of elites in the government,” added report.

However, South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, denied that the oil has been used to finance the war saying they are merely being branded in that way by those he said are enemies of peace who, on baseless grounds, are accusing the government of using oil money to fund the conflict.

“Well the enemies of peace are actually categorizing us this way. People are actually saying the oil money is being used to fuel this war,” he said. “I have been in the ministry of petroleum since 2016 and I can assure you there is no single dollar that has been used to buy arms in the ministry and even in the country.”

Minister Lol further said South Sudan’s focus and that of President Salva Kiir is to bring peace insisting that the state oil firm has never been involved in activities related to violence in the country saying his government is not investing in war vowing that such thing will never take place under Kiir’s government.

“The focus of the president of the republic of South Sudan has been to bring peace. The focus is peace…….and we are not investing in war and we will not invest at all in war. Nilepet has not been financing any activity related to violence in the country,” he said.

He accused those who wrote the UN report on South Sudan of not being happy about the country and its leadership as well as the revitalized peace agreement signed by the government and opposition groups in September last year.

“Some of them are not happy with South Sudan, some of them are not happy with our leadership, some of them are even criticizing the agreement that was signed,” he said adding: “Some people are actually not happy with this agreement simply because they don’t like the players, those who brought peace like the IGAD region and also those who are actually continuing to participate in the government.”