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Newly released child soldiers in South Sudan. Photo: Steganie Glinski / AFP / Getty Images

South Sudan’s elite are using the country’s main revenue source, oil, to fund militias and atrocities in the country, according to documents obtained by The Sentry, an investigative group founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast.

Political backdrop: South Sudan has been in a state of turmoil since the ongoing civil war broke out in 2013. The violence has left famine in its wake and millions of South Sudanese internally displaced and seeking refuge in neighboring countries. A ceasefire signed in December hasn't been followed.

What’s happening, per the report: South Sudan’s state oil company, Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet), has funded militias responsible for violence. More than $80 million was recorded as being paid to South Sudanese politicians, military officials, government agencies, and companies with links to politicians that paid for military transport and other logistics linked with atrocities.

  • The petroleum ministry helped provide funds, food, and fuel to militia groups in the Upper Nile state that are reportedly behind attacks on villages and civilians.
  • Nilepet made payments to a company called Golden Wings Aviation and other companies for an “army logistics operation” in June 2015. The UN has claimed this company transported weapons to Unity state during a period of violence in 2014 and 2015.
  • Other companies the records list as having received similar payments for military logistics operations include Interstate Airways, partially owned by South Sudan’s First Lady, as well as Nile Basin for Aviation, an airline owned by family members of top military and government officials.
  • Crown Auto Trade, a Toyota dealership majority-owned by a prominent South Sudanese businessman, is also reportedly listed in the records as having received $8 million in payments from Nilepet for providing vehicles and importing armored personnel carriers. The businessman, Obac William Olawo, denies transporting troops, weapons, or equipment.

There were 84 security-related transactions between March 2014 and June 2015, according to the documents The Sentry obtained.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
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  5. Variant tracker
12 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.