Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions Wednesday on three associates of South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit, for allegedly profiting from corruption.
The sanctions were placed on on Gen. Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, the army's deputy chief of staff in charge of military procurement; Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan's information minister; and Paul Malong Awan, the former chief of staff of the South Sudan People's Liberation Army who was recently fired by Kiir.
The Treasury Department said the men not only held responsibility for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Sudan, but profited from it, as well.
Any U.S. assets owned by the offcials will be blocked and American citizens are prohibited from engaging with them, reported Bloomberg. They will also be barred from entering the United States.
"These actions send a clear message to those enriching themselves at the expense of the South Sudanese people that we will not let them exploit the U.S. financial system to move and hide the proceeds of their corruption," said Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "Treasury will forcefully respond to the atrocities ongoing in South Sudan by targeting those who abuse human rights, seek to derail the peace process and obstruct reconciliation in South Sudan."
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration will continue to put South Sudanese officials on notice
"This is a man-made crisis, and one the government of South Sudan can stop," she said.
South Sudan has been involved in a raging civil war since 2013 between Kiir's supporters and opposition backers. Since then, nearly 2 million children have been displaced and 1.1 million children are significantly malnourished as a result of mass food shortages.