Home | News    Monday 30 April 2018

Rights body condemns attacks in South Sudan

April 29, 2018 (KAMPALA) - The Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) has condemned in the “strongest” terms possible the recent attacks on innocent civilians South Sudan’s counties of Leer and Mayendit.

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Thousands of civilians fleeing violence seek shelter at a UN compound in Jonglei state capital, Bor (Photo: UNMISS/Hailemichael Gebrekrstos)

CPJ’s executive director, Tito Anthony said the attacks violated the cessation of hostilities agreement the nation’s warring parties signed.

“Leer and Mayendit [counties] are under the control of the armed opposition (SPLM-IO). If there are any attack, then it the government forces attacking,” Tito said in a statement issued on Sunday.

He accused government forces of attacking and displacing civilians instead of protection them as mandated by the country’s constitution.

“I call on the CSTAMM [Ceasefire Transitional Monitoring Mechanism] to take note of the attack on civilian. It is both violation of cessation of hostility and violation of international humanitarian law,” he said.

The CPJ official urged the international community to impose punitive measures against violators of the ceasefire agreement.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said a surge in violent clashes in Unity, Jonglei and Central Equatoria regions is having a devastating impact on thousands of civilians and humanitarian agencies trying to provide desperately needed assistance to vulnerable people.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it is deeply concerned at the intensification of fighting in areas such as Nhialdiu, Mayendit, Rupchai, Thaker, and Mirinyal, in the vicinity of Leer and Bentiu in the Unity region, as well as around Motot and Akobo in Jonglei.

"Innocent civilians are being caught in the crossfire, including many women, children and elderly people," said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer.

"Our teams on the ground are reporting incidents of killing, sexual violence, homes being burnt to the ground, cattle raiding, and the looting of hospitals and schools,” he added.

According to the UN, over 30 humanitarian workers have been relocated over the past two weeks because it is too dangerous for them to operate in the midst of the escalating conflict.

Thousands of people have reportedly fled into swamps and bushy areas without access to the much-needed aid, including food, clean water and medical care.

"This surge in violence is causing immense suffering and harm to civilians and the ability to provide humanitarian support," said David Shearer.

"It is at odds with the cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed just a few months ago. We urge the warring parties to lay down their guns, put the interests of the people first, and work together to build lasting peace," he added.

The senior UN official also said the upcoming round of peace talks at the high level revitalization forum is dependent on all warring parties committing to stop the fighting and to come together in good faith.

"Political leaders must demonstrate they are willing to compromise and resolve this conflict which is causing terrible harm to their people," he stressed.

(ST)