Home | News    Monday 7 March 2016

South Sudan army accused of raping and killing civilians

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March 7, 2016 (NAIROBI) - The US-based Human Rights Watch has accused South Sudan government forces (SPLA) of allegedly of executing numerous killings, enforced disappearances, rapes, and other grave abuses in recent military confrontations with armed groups in its Western Equatoria province.

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South Sudanese soldiers patrol the streets of Unity state capital Bentiu on 12 January 2014 (Photo: Simon Maina/AFP)

Other serious abuses, including rape, were also committed by armed rebels groups in the area, the rights body said Monday.

“As South Sudan’s fighting has shifted west, so too have the atrocities by government forces and rebel groups. South Sudan’s leaders should put a stop to all abuses,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“Both an arms embargo and an effective war crimes court are also crucial to help stem the abuses and send a message that the crimes will be punished”, he added.

South Sudanese military officials were not immediately available to comment on the matter.

Last month, a United Nations report revealed that South Sudan’s main warring faction in the country’s conflict were killing, abducting, displacing civilians and destroying property despite a peace deal they both signed to end over 20 months of violence.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and over two million displaced after a political dispute within South Sudan’s ruling party, SPLM, sparked off a civil war in 2013.

The fighting was mainly between the Dinka and Nuer, two of the nation’s largest tribes.

According to Human Rights Watch, fighting between government armed forces, the SPLA, and local armed groups, known as “Arrow Boys” began in May 2015, and has since spread across Western Equatoria. The Arrow Boys, composed mostly of Zande, Jur, and Moru ethnic groups, are named after local defense forces formed in the region in 2009 to fight the Ugandan rebel group, Lord’s Resistance Army attacks in South Sudan.

“While some Arrow Boys have publicly aligned with the rebel SPLA in Opposition, giving them a role in the broader conflict, one of their groups sought a separate peace deal with the state government,” said the rights body.

South Sudanese authorities, it said, largely failed to respond to allegations of abuses, underscoring the breakdown in law and order that has accompanied the spread of conflict. Human Rights Watch researchers allegedly saw bodies of two men, shot in the head and chest, their arms tied behind their backs, decomposing in a teak forest more than two weeks after UN peacekeepers discovered the corpses and alerted local officials.

The report highlights incidences of killings by the army in various parts of Western Equatoria, urging the African Union Commission to expedite establishment of a hybrid court to try serious crime cases as envisioned in the August 2015 peace agreement.

The United Nations Security Council, it further stressed, should impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all forces in South Sudan to help curtail abuses against civilians.

Fighting has, in recent weeks, escalated in other parts of South Sudan. In one widely reported incident, on February 17, government soldiers and other armed men attacked a UN protection of civilian camps in Malakal. About 20 people were killed and at least 100 injured, and 2,700 shelters were burned. Most of the camp’s 43,000 residents were forced to flee to an older protection site or back into the city.

Currently, UN peacekeepers are sheltering nearly 200,000 people at six protections of civilian sites in South Sudan and more than 2.3 million people have been displaced.

Both the South Sudanese government and its armed opposition faction have made commitments to support justice for crimes against civilians since the conflict began in December 2013, but there have never been any domestic investigations into alleged abuses, despite several calls for a probe.

(ST)

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  • 7 March 2016 11:06, by Stephen kuach

    How can South Sudanese live in peace when there is UN,and Sudantribune which is hatred spreader for people of S.Sudan to divide themselves.

    repondre message

    • 7 March 2016 11:14, by Eastern

      Stephen,

      Don’t blame Sudantribune. As Kiir to lead South Sudan out of the UN if you are frustrated with them. The truth is, you dinkas thrive in lies and deceptions. Your actions have not only caught up with you but caused a lot of problems to the whole country. It’s true that SPLA wants to coverup their bad deeds - it’s too late to do that.

      repondre message

      • 7 March 2016 12:42, by South South

        Let us know first who is Daniel Bekele. Daniel Bekele is an Ethiopian citizen who hates many governments in Africa. He was arrested and kicked out from Ethiopia by former Prime minister. We should know why he writes like this.

        repondre message

        • 7 March 2016 14:00, by Eastern

          Don’t blame Daniel Bekele. Blame the emerging dictatorship in the continent under the guise of Pan Africanism. Bekele is right.

          repondre message

          • 7 March 2016 14:45, by South South

            Eastern,

            I do not fight with my South Sudanese fellows. All what I am saying is that Daniel Bekele can not be neutral when he writes about Africa because of his past experience in his own country. Daniel is bias because of what happened to him in Ethiopia. He can not be a good judge about Africa in my personal opinion.

            repondre message

          • 7 March 2016 18:37, by Stephen kuach

            Brother Eastern!
            Get rid of the hatred out of your mind brother,I don’t hate any tribe in S.Sudan including you,but I will always point my finger to the outsiders especially those who are trying to destroy our country.please learn this! They killed Dr.Garang so they come and rob our resources

            repondre message

            • 8 March 2016 04:59, by Eastern

              Dear Kuach,

              Please tell South Sudanese who really killed Dr Garang now that you know. Let’s avoid sweeping statements.

              repondre message

            • 8 March 2016 06:11, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

              Stephen Kuach.

              What is impossible for you to do that only Garang can do? This shows how empty headed person you are? Our resourses are stolen because those we entrusted with state power are politically impotent!! The know nothing except Kisra, marissa and mustra. No one killed Garang except his lack of vision about his dear life. He should have sensed that Trust nobody except God.

              repondre message

  • 7 March 2016 15:57, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Truth never changes itself. The fact of the matter is people are being butchered by the government of bandits. South Sudan as it stands has no government. A collection of robbers claim to run the show. They hate any crystal of truth pointed against them and their rotten rule.

    repondre message

  • 7 March 2016 16:57, by Joseph Canada

    THOSE WHO ARE PROTECTING THE DINKA KILLING MACHINE AND THEIR GOVERNMENT ARE ONLY THE DINKA. MR. KALELE OR WHOEVER THAT MAN IS IS RIGHT. PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN WESTERN EQUATORIA AND THE REST OF SOUTH SUDAN IN THE HANDS OF DINKA. THEY FORCE PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR LAND WHILE THEY LEAVE THEIR OWN LAND/HOME. I DONT KNOW WHATS BURNING THEM FROM THERE. ARABS AND GONE. GO BACK!!!. LEAVE PEOPLE OF EQ. ALONE!

    repondre message

    • 7 March 2016 17:02, by Joseph Canada

      I EVEN FAIL TO KNOW WHY THEY WERE CALLED IDPs WHEN THEY CAN CLEARLY DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM THE NUER WITH ALL THOSE GIVEN TRUCKS MOUNTED WITH MACHIN GUNS. PLEASE GO AND JUST LEAVE OTHER PEOPLE ALONE. YOU TOOK ALL THE MONEY IN JUBA, STOLE EVERYTHING THAT THE COUNTRY HAVE PLUS YOU OWNED THE WAR TITLE. THATS ENOUGH ALREADY. YOU HAVE IT ALL. NOW GO BACK TO YOUR HOME STATES.

      repondre message

    • 7 March 2016 17:03, by Joseph Canada

      I EVEN FAIL TO KNOW WHY THEY WERE CALLED IDPs WHEN THEY CAN CLEARLY DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM THE NUER WITH ALL THOSE GIVEN TRUCKS MOUNTED WITH MACHIN GUNS. PLEASE GO AND JUST LEAVE OTHER PEOPLE ALONE. YOU TOOK ALL THE MONEY IN JUBA, STOLE EVERYTHING THAT THE COUNTRY HAVE PLUS YOU OWNED THE WAR TITLE. THATS ENOUGH ALREADY. YOU HAVE IT ALL. NOW GO BACK TO YOUR HOME STATES.

      repondre message

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