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

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Sep 07, 2022 - 03:25 AM

JUBA, South Sudan(AA) – 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.

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 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 Feb. 11 and May 31, is based on 32 verification missions conducted by UNMISS in Koch, Leer and Mayendit counties and neighboring 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.

“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.

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