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UN: 173 civilians killed in 4 months, amid continued fighting in South Sudan

September 7, 2022 at 2:02 pm

A picture taken on June 13, 2020, shows members of a forensic team at a cemetary in the Sahafa neighbourhood, south of the Sudanese capital Khartoum [AFP via Getty Images]

The UN mission in South Sudan said more than 170 people were killed and 131 women, including girls, were raped between February and May in Unity State, Anadolu News Agency reports.

A joint report published by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented violations, abuses of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law in the Unity State.

The violations were committed during fighting between joint government forces and affiliated armed militia and groups on one hand, and elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO (RM)) – loyal to First Vice President, Riek Machar, on the other. The report, which covers the period between 11 February and 31 May, is based on 32 verification missions conducted by UNMISS in Koch, Leer, and Mayendit counties and neighbouring areas, said 173 civilians were killed in four months in the southern State. It said hostilities affected at least 28 villages and settlements, with approximately 12 residents injured and 37 women and children abducted.

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“Many of the abductees were subjected to sexual violence, including girls as young as eight-years-old and a nine-year-old girl who was gang-raped to death. A total of 131 cases of rape and gang rape were documented. Approximately 44,000 civilians were displaced from at least 26 villages,” it said. The UN mission identified joint government forces and allied militias and groups reportedly operating under the command of officials of Koch and Mayendit counties as the main perpetrators of the violations and abuses. The SPLM/A-IO (RM) also perpetrated attacks in Mirmir Payam, Koch County.“Human rights violations were committed with impunity. The Government is duty-bound under international law to protect civilians, investigate allegations of human rights violations and hold suspected perpetrators accountable in compliance with fair trial standards,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom.

The government and the SPLA-IO have yet to comment on the report.