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No one detained over S. Sudan civilian killings: U.N

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April 23, 2017 (JUBA) - The United Nations’ top human rights official in South Sudan says no one has been detained in connection with recent killings of civilians in the country’s western town of Wau.

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IDPs shelter near the UNMISS base in Wau (IOM/Gonzalez 2016)

In a statement issued on Sunday, the human rights director for the U.N Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Eugene Nindorera, said he was "shaken" to hear testimonies of victims of the government offensive that killed at least 16 people and displaced more than 23,000.

The continued impunity, he said, was one of the biggest challenges to stopping violence in South Sudan’s civil war, now in its fourth year.

"I can confirm that, as of Sunday, nobody is being detained in connection with this attack against civilians," partly reads Nindorera’s statement.

"I talked to victims and witnesses and was shaken to hear their testimonies of how they had to flee their houses after being attacked. It’s more important than ever before that people are held accountable for the crimes they have committed," he added.

According to the U.N, by Thursday the protection of civilians site adjacent to its base in Wau had so far registered some 17,000 new arrivals, mainly women and children, while around 5,000 people had sought sanctuary inside the compound of the Wau Catholic church.

The influx of newly displaced people, the world body stressed, has led to overcrowding and pressure on the available humanitarian services.

Residents said soldiers loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir allegedly singled out civilians of the Fertit and Luo ethnic groups in retaliation for a rebel attack on government forces in Wau town.

The Human Rights Division of UNMISS said it interviewed 43 individuals, including eight women and two children, from April 11, to collect information about alleged human rights violations perpetrated by government forces and aligned armed groups in Wau town on April 10.

The African Union (AU) and South Sudan’s government have long promised to create a hybrid court to try leaders for war crimes.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan’s worst-ever outbreak of violence since it seceded from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.

(ST)

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