JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan has ordered the freezing of bank accounts of five members of a coalition of activists calling for political change.
The People’s Coalition for Civil Action, formed in July, has called for President Salva Kiir and his rival deputy Riek Machar to step down, accusing them of failing the people of South Sudan for a decade of war and fragile peace.
In a letter seen by The Associated Press, the director-general of the government’s banking supervision division on Wednesday directed all commercial banks operating in South Sudan to block accounts belong to the five activists “with immediate effect.”
The statement didn’t give reasons for the order. The Central Bank of South Sudan confirmed the letter. A government spokesman could not be reached.
The order freezes the accounts of Abraham Awolich, former executive director of the Sudd Institute; Rajab Mohandis, executive director for the Organization for Responsive Governance; Wani Michael, former executive director of the Okay Africa Foundation; Jame David Kolok, executive director of the Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance and Kuel Aguer Kuel.
Awolich, a co-founder of the coalition, said they would not be deterred by the government’s order, which he called “a war against civil society in South Sudan.”
“This action is an attempt by the government to weaken the members and the PCCA as an organization,” he told the AP, adding that the action has raised the coalition’s profile.
Michael in a social media post called it “unfortunate.”
South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, is struggling to recover from a five-year civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Former rivals Kiir and Machar now lead a government accused by watchdogs of falling behind on implementation of the peace deal.
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