As South Sudan implodes, America reconsiders its support for the regime

IT IS not as bad in South Sudan as people think, insists Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the petroleum minister. The UN may claim that a third of the population have fled their homes, but that is an exaggeration, says the sharp-suited former diplomat.

Why, then, does he think the refugee camps are so full? Some people go there for the services, such as free food, he explains. Others have been scared by fake news, peddled by insurgents. “People are saying: ‘The Dinka [the largest ethnic group in South Sudan] are coming to kill you. You must leave!’” Seated in his plush office in Juba, the capital, Mr Gatkuoth scoffs that, when he was a rebel during South Sudan’s long war to break away from Sudan, his comrades used similar propaganda, telling people that the Arabs were coming to burn their villages and rape their children. “It was very effective,” he recalls.

At camps for displaced people near Wau, one of South Sudan’s largest cities, no one agrees with Mr Gatkuoth’s account of…

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