South Su­dan elite blamed for famine

Saturday Star - - WORLD -

NEW YORK: Famine in South Su­dan could be brought to an end if world lead­ers would step in and stop lo­cal politi­cians fight­ing over and wast­ing funds, ac­tor Ge­orge Clooney says in a news­pa­per opin­ion piece.

De­scrib­ing the famine as “gov­ern­ment-made”, Clooney said South Su­dan’s po­lit­i­cal elite were fan­ning eth­nic ten­sions to build for­tunes in the oil-rich na­tion.

Civil war broke out in South Su­dan in 2013 after a dis­agree­ment be­tween Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir and his for­mer vice- pres­i­dent Riek Machar ex­ploded into mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion.

Nearly half the pop­u­la­tion, about 5.5 mil­lion peo­ple, is ex­pected to be with­out a re­li­able source of food by July. Last month, the UN said parts of South Su­dan were al­ready suf­fer­ing from famine.

Clooney, in an opin­ion piece pub­lished in the Washington Post, called for “chok­ing the il­licit fi­nan­cial flows of the klep­to­crats”.

Clooney, 55, has used his star­dom to bring at­ten­tion to hu­man­i­tar­ian crises in South Su­dan and neigh­bour­ing Su­dan.

Last year, the Sen­try, a non- pro f i t o r g a ni s at i o n he founded, re­ported that fam­i­lies on both sides of South Su­dan’s civil war had amassed for­tunes from the con­flict. – Reuters

Ge­orge Clooney

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