US costs economist with South Sudan grenade launcher working scheme | EUROtoday

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US prosecutors have charged a outstanding South Sudanese economist and Harvard fellow with conspiring to export Stinger missile techniques, grenade launchers and computerized rifles to armed teams in South Sudan.

In a criticism unsealed this week and dated February 29, the prosecutors alleged that Peter Ajak, a former economist with the World Bank, and an affiliate, Abraham Chol Keech, meant to ship the weapons to “opposition groups seeking to effect a non-democratic regime change in South Sudan”.

Ajak, 40, has been a fierce critic of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s authorities. He was jailed in 2018 and charged with treason.

Those costs had been dropped, however he was convicted of disturbing the peace over interviews he gave to international media. Kiir later pardoned him.

The Justice Department alleged within the criticism that the defendants violated US regulation making it unlawful to export weapons to South Sudan, which is topic to a U.N. arms embargo.

Peter Biar Ajak provides an interview upon his arrival at Washington Dulles International Airport, July 23, 2020

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The nation has endured years of civil battle and combating between armed teams since profitable independence from Sudan in 2011.

It was not instantly clear if Ajak and Keech had been represented by counsel. Ajak didn’t instantly reply to an emailed request for remark. Keech didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark despatched to his social media accounts.

Between February 2023 and February 2024, Ajak and Keech tried to purchase weapons from undercover regulation enforcement brokers and smuggle them to South Sudan via a 3rd nation, based on the criticism.

As a part of the alleged scheme, they agreed to an arms contract value practically $4 million and requested a “fake contract” that mentioned the funds had been for issues like gear associated to “human rights, humanitarian, and civil engagement inside South Sudan refugee camps”, the criticism mentioned.

Ajak fled to the United States as a toddler throughout South Sudan’s independence battle. He is at present a non-resident fellow on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Fighters from the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces sit on an armed automobile within the metropolis of Nyala, in south Darfur, on May 3, 2015

(AFP through Getty Images)

On Wednesday the highest UN meals official warned that the battle raging for a few yr between rival generals in Sudan dangers creating the world’s largest starvation disaster.

Cindy McCain, head of the World Food Programme (WFP), mentioned the combating in Sudan, which pits the nation’s army towards a paramilitary group, has shattered the lives of thousands and thousands throughout the north-eastern African nation, whereas the world’s consideration is targeted on the Israel-Hamas battle.

As she wrapped up a visit to neighbouring South Sudan, the place a whole lot of hundreds of Sudanese had fled the combating of their residence nation, Ms McCain mentioned: “The war in Sudan risks triggering the world’s largest hunger crisis.”

The UN meals company mentioned some 18 million folks throughout Sudan face acute starvation, with essentially the most determined trapped behind the entrance strains.

Sudan plunged into chaos in mid-April when clashes erupted within the capital, Khartoum, between the nation’s army, led by Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan, and paramilitaries often called Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Gen Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

The combating shortly unfold throughout the nation, particularly city areas but in addition the unsettled western Darfur area.

Thousands of individuals have been killed, together with between 10,000 and 15,000 folks, when paramilitary forces and allied Arab militias rampaged via a Darfur city final yr.

Two many years in the past, Darfur grew to become synonymous with genocide and battle crimes, notably by the infamous Janjaweed Arab militias, towards populations that establish as Central or East African.

People board a truck as they depart Khartoum, Sudan, on June 19, 2023

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Ms McCain mentioned: “Twenty years ago, Darfur was the world’s largest hunger crisis and the world rallied to respond. But today, the people of Sudan have been forgotten.”

The battle has uprooted greater than 10 million folks both to safer areas inside Sudan or to neighbouring international locations, based on the UN companies.

Ms McCain known as for the combatants to cease combating and permit humanitarian companies to supply their life-saving help.

“The consequences of inaction go far beyond a mother unable to feed her child and will shape the region for years to come,” she mentioned.