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US imposes first sanctions over Sudan conflict

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The United States has imposed the first sanctions related to the conflict in Sudan, warning that it will “hold accountable” all those undermining peace in the northeast African country.

In a statement, the US Treasury Department announced the targeting of two companies affiliated with Sudan’s army and two companies affiliated with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). These entities were accused of generating revenue from the ongoing conflict and exacerbating the violence..

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated, “Through the imposition of sanctions, we are disrupting crucial financial flows to both the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces, thereby depriving them of the resources required to pay soldiers, procure weapons, replenish supplies, and continue waging war in Sudan. The United States stands with the civilian population against those who perpetrate violence against the people of Sudan.”

The United States, in partnership with Saudi Arabia, has been at the forefront of efforts to secure a viable ceasefire in Sudan. The country has been a focal point of US diplomatic endeavors in Africa as part of its strategy to counter Russian influence in the region. Thursday’s measures represent the first punitive actions taken under an executive order signed by President Joe Biden in May, which facilitated the imposition of new sanctions related to Sudan in response to the ongoing conflict.

According to the United Nations, the conflict, which commenced on April 15, has resulted in hundreds of casualties, internally displaced over 1.2 million people within Sudan, and forced an additional 400,000 individuals to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Washington targeted Algunade, which it said is a Sudanese holding company controlled by RSF Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and his brother; Tradive General Trading L.L.C., a front company controlled by RSF Major Algoney Hamdan Dagalo, another brother; Sudan’s largest defense enterprise Defense Industries System; and arms company Sudan Master Technology.

Algunade has in the past bypassed central bank controls to export tens of millions of dollars of gold to Dubai, according to Reuters reporting in 2019.

Washington also issued an updated business advisory to highlight growing risks to US business and individuals exacerbated by the conflict, including trade in gold from a conflict-affected area, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement.

He added that visa restrictions were imposed on individuals in Sudan, including officials from both the army and RSF and leaders from the former Omar al-Bashir government.

The latest violence was triggered by disagreement over an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Dagalo, known as Hemedti, had been preparing to sign on to a new political transition to elections under a civilian government when the war erupted. Together they had toppled a civilian government in an October 2021 coup.

Sudan’s army suspended talks with the rival paramilitary force on Wednesday over a ceasefire and aid access, raising fears the six-week-old conflict will push Africa’s third largest nation deeper into a humanitarian crisis.

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