UN report says 173 civilians killed in four months in South Sudan

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173 civilians have been killed, 12 injured, and 37 women and children abducted in South Sudan’s Unity State, according to a new joint report published by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Sudan fighters – Courtesy images

According to a statement from UNMISS, the violations were committed during clashes between joint government forces and affiliated armed militias/groups on the one hand, and elements of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) loyal to First Vice-President Riek Machar on the other.

The report, which covers the period between February 11 and May 31, 2022, is based on 32 verification missions conducted by UNMISS in three counties – Koch, Leer, and Mayendit – and neighboring areas.

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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.

UNMISS identified joint government forces and allied militias/groups reportedly operating under the command of officials of Koch and Mayendit counties as the main perpetrators of the human rights violations and abuses. The SPLM/A-IO (RM) also perpetrated attacks in Mirmir Payam, Koch County.

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“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,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom said. After five years of brutal civil war,

Since the signing of the peace deal in 2018, it is yet to produce tangible results as political crisis and violence, food insecurity and economic meltdown continue to ravage the world’s youngest nation.

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