Leaked: South Sudanese officials involve in illicit gold business dealings in Eastern Equatoria State

Photo: AFP/Getty Images/File

Juba, April 28, 2020 (SSNA) — Officials of South Sudan and Eastern Equatoria State governments are involved in corrupt gold mining business practices in Eastern Equatoria State, a leaked document obtained by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) shows.

The 5-page document given to the SSNA in Juba by an Eastern Equatoria State official who asked for complete anonymity for fear of reprisal explains how some central government and state officials exploit the gold-rich state.

“There are 10 South Sudanese government officials who closely work with hand-picked Eastern Equatoria State government officials. All are working with warlords, militia groups, and criminals mining gold in the state,” the document reads in part.

“They conduct their illegal activities in Didinga areas,” the text adds.

The document also discloses that some officials with ties to the South Sudanese government use their influence to expand the gold business.

“These people from Juba use their powers to send gold to different countries. The document also accuses the officials of trading gold with arms.

“When so much gold is placed in special containers, then they smuggle the bags to their foreign business partners in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, and the United Arabs Emirates,” the document asserts, adding, “They also use some bags full of gold to buy weapons and ammunition from Chinese arms dealers and then give the arms to militia groups and warlords who use help safeguard their mining sites.”

“The militia forces and warlords kill anyone who speaks out. If a new mining site is discovered, they remove people by force,” the text states.

This is not the first time government officials are accused of illegal mining business practices.

In early April this year, a Washington, D.C-based investigative institute called The Sentry released a report after a 2-year investigation. In that report, the group found that family members of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, Vice President James Wani Igga, high-ranking military generals, and government officials are involved in corrupt mining business dealings in Pibor and Kopoeta.

The South Sudan News Agency was told by the official who leaked the document that “the SSNA should expect more revealing evidence sooner or later.” The official declined to elaborate when the SSNA tried to gain details of the statement.

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