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More than 100 civilians killed in fresh South Sudan violence: UN

July 3, 2019 (JUBA) – Fresh violence in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region has claimed lives of over 100 civilians, the United Nations said a new report released on Wednesday.

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UNMISS peacekeepers patrols Yei Town on 25 January 2018 (photo UNMISS)

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said civilians were “deliberately” and “brutally targeted" by government forces and rebels in Central Equatoria region.

At least 104 people were killed in attacks on villages in the southern region, UNMISS said a report, which undermines the peace agreement signed in September 2018.

Violence, it further observed, has forced more than 56,000 civilians to flee their homes, while an estimated 20,000 people have crossed the border into Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Cases of sexual violence also appear in the report, with government troops said to have carried out “sexual violence as well as looting and destroying homes, churches, schools and health centers.”

"At least 150 civilians were also held in captivity by these groups, including women and girls taken as ’wives’ by commanders or raped and beaten by multiple fighters," partly reads the report.

A bloody civil war broke out in Africa’s newest nation in mid-December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar of a coup attempt, allegations Machar denies.

Last year, a report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that at least 382,900 people have died as a result of the five-year civil war in South Sudan.

Overall, UNMISS said overall there had been a "significant” decrease in conflict-related violence since the peace agreement was signed.

South Sudan’s rival factions agreed on a six-month extension to implement next steps in the fragile peace agreement. The extension followed threats from the country’s main opposition group to boycott the formation of a unity government on May 12.