The First Vice President has refuted allegations that he ordered the abduction and killing of two opposition figures in the country, describing himself as a man of peace.
The U.S officially sanctioned Taban Deng Gai on Wednesday for being complicit in having directly or indirectly engaged in serious human rights abuse, including the disappearance and deaths of lawyer Samuel Dong Luak and SPLM-IO member Aggrey Idry.
The two men, who were sympathetic to SPLM-IO, disappeared off the street of Nairobi on January 23 and 24, 2017.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) believes Taban Deng reportedly arranged and directed their abduction and disappearance “to solidify his position within President Kiir’s government and to intimidate members of the SPLM-IO.”
However, Mr. Taban has denied the allegations labeled against him.
“I have been wrongly accused of serious human rights abuses and sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets control,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
“I deeply regret those baseless and unfounded allegations and wish to assure the international community, and above all the people of South Sudan, that my life has always been dedicated to the building of a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan,” he added.
Mr. Taban said since 1983, he has “always fought for the sovereignty of South Sudan and until 2020, my commitment towards peace and unity has only grown stronger.”
He further stated that, “as a man of peace, my dedication towards my country is above all a commitment to securing a future for all our people.”
The First Vice President further said he believes in fighting impunity, promoting democracy and guaranteeing the rule of law and individual freedoms.
He pledged to continue working with the United States and the international community to “prove unfounded” the allegations made against him.
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