The United States is weighing targeted sanctions against South Sudan due to the failure of leaders in the world’s youngest nation to take steps to end a crisis that has brought the country to the brink of civil war, sources briefed on U.S. discussions told Reuters news agency.
“It’s a tool that has been discussed,” a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity about the possibility of U.S. sanctions against those blocking peace efforts or fuelling violence in South Sudan. Another source confirmed the remarks, though both declined to provide details on the precise measures under consideration.
This comes a day after South Sudan’s military said it had recaptured the oil hub of Bentiu – one of just two rebel-held cities.
An Army spokesman Philip Aguer said the final resistance – a tank protecting a bridge to the city – had been overcome at 14:30 local time (11:30 GMT).
Rebel leader Riek Machar told AFP his forces had withdrawn to save civilians but vowed to fight on.
The UN peacekeeping chief says the conflict has killed “very substantially in excess” of 1,000 people.
Ceasefire talks in neighbouring Ethiopia have stalled.
Bentiu is the capital of the oil-rich Unity state. The fighting, which began on 15 December, has seen South Sudan’s oil output fall by about 20%.