The United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Monday accused opposition forces in Bentiu of carrying out targeted killings, including of children, and committing "vengeful sexual violence" against women after they captured the town last week from government troops.
"UNMISS Human Rights investigators have confirmed that when SPLA in Opposition forces captured Bentiu on 15 and 16 April, they searched a number of places where hundreds of South Sudanese and foreign civilians had taken refuge and killed hundreds of the civilians after determining their ethnicity or nationality," the U.N. Mission said in a statement.
Several Nuer men, women and children who were hiding at Bentiu hospital during the fighting were killed because they failed to join other Nuers who had gone out to cheer as the opposition forces entered the town.
UNMISS said members of other South Sudanese communities and Darfuris were also targeted and killed at the hospital.
People were also singled out and killed.for their ethnicity and nationality at a mosque, a Roman Catholic church and the World Food Program compound in Bentiu, UNMISS said.
"These atrocities must be fully investigated and the perpetrators and their commanders shall be held accountable", said the Officer in Charge of UNMISS, Raisedon Zenenga.
Radio broadcast hate speech
UNMISS also said individuals associated with the opposition have been using an FM station in Bentiu to broadcast hate speech.
"While some SPLA in Opposition commanders did broadcast messages calling for unity and an end to tribalism, others broadcast hate messages declaring that certain ethnic groups should not stay in Bentiu and even calling on men from one community to commit vengeful sexual violence against women from another community," UNMISS said.
Opposition forces recaptured Bentiu, the capital of one of South Sudan's oil-producing states, last week from government troops.
Following the fighting, UNMISS said the number of civilians seeking protection in its base in Bentiu swelled from around 7,000 to more than 12,000.