11 July 2018

South Sudan: Army, Rebels Implicated in War Crimes

Khartoum — THE elderly, children and disabled are among hundreds of people killed in grave acts of violence documented by United Nations (UN) human rights monitors in South Sudan.

The investigations established that at least 232 civilians were killed and many more injured in attacks by warring parties on villages in opposition-controlled areas in the Unity State between April 16 and May 24.

Three local aid workers were killed and their facilities destroyed. Some victims were reportedly hung from trees and others burned alive in their homes.

At least 120 women and girls were raped or gang-raped, including children as young as four. At least 132 other women and girls were abducted.

Government and aligned forces as well as armed youth are implicated in the violations.

More than 5 000 have sought sanctuary at UN-protected sites in Leer and Bentiu areas of Unity State while another 8 000 are estimated to be hiding in bushes.

Over 18 000 are now refugees in neighbouring cities.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the government to launch investigations and hold perpetrators accountable.

"The perpetrators of these revolting acts against defenceless civilians, including those bearing command responsibilities, must not be allowed to get away with it."

A civil war has gripped South Sudan since 2013, two years after independence from Sudan.

It is the consequence of a spat between President Salva Kiir and his then-deputy, Riek Machar.

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