As a result of breaking ceasefire agreements, the European Union is planning on sanctioning two South Sudanese military leaders.

The two targets are Rebel Chief Peter Gadet and Army Commander Santino Deng. Both of these men are ethnic Nuers, and have direct links to the atrocities that took place over the past six months in South Sudan.

As of the most recent press release, the sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes.

Gadet is accused of leading an attack in the oil rich town of Bentiu last April which left more than 200 dead. Reports have indicated that it was an ethnically motivated attack.

Deng led the recapture of Bentiu and also broke the most recently brokered ceasefire.

The ceasefire was initially agreed upon by both the South Sudanese government and rebel forces, but neither side fully accepted the terms. The most recent set of talks held in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, stalled and are currently adjourned.

These new sanctions from the E.U. are indicative of the frustration from the international community that a solution has not yet been reached.

“The Council today imposed sanctions against individuals obstructing the South Sudanese peace process and responsible for atrocities, as part of wider EU efforts to stop violence and avoid further instability in the region,” said an official European Union statement.

The sanctions are designed to send a message to both the government and rebels that any high level official on either side of the conflict could be the next target. The European Union already has an arms embargo on South Sudan, and there are suggestions that the U.N. could adopt a similar embargo.

These sanctions have been in effect since July 11, and will only be lifted once there is a rapid resumption of talks and the creation of a unified transitional government.

With any luck these sanctions will help put pressure on the rebels and lead to stronger actions taken by all parties involved, in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

– Andre Gobbo 
Sources: BBC, Reuters, VOA News
Photo: VOA News