President Biden okays sanctions on Sudan warring chiefs, backers

Thursday May 04 2023
US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden. He revisited previously lifted sanctions on Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism and humanitarian atrocities, freezing any of its assets on US soil. PHOTO | AFP


The US government has authorised the imposition of sanctions on Sudan’s warring chiefs, declaring that the violence since April 15 constitutes an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States".

In an Executive Order on Thursday, President Joe Biden revisited previously lifted sanctions on Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism and humanitarian atrocities, freezing any Sudanese assets on US soil and directing the Treasury Secretary to determine warmongers and spoilers of the peace to be sanctioned.

The order also directed that “any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to be responsible for, or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in” assisting warring factions, looting or harming civilians will have their assets frozen and barred from transacting with US entities and proscribed individuals barred from stepping on US soil.

The sanctions are the first US response to Sudanese warring sides, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), previous allies who helped toppled former leader Omar al-Bashir but refused to transition to civilian-led government.

Read: Burhan, Hemedti feud that risks civil war in Sudan

Since April 15, at least 800 people have been killed and more than 300,000 displaced, including 100,000 who have already crossed into neighbouring countries. Four ceasefire agreements have also largely been violated as the SAF led by junta leader Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF's Mohammed Dagalo "Hemedti" fight in Khartoum.


The sanctions could return Sudan to isolation, just two years after it was relieved as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited,” Biden said in the order.

He said the sanctions would prevent actions or policies that threaten the peace, security or stability of Sudan, actions that prevent a transition to civilian-led government and human rights abuses as well as looting of Sudanese resources.