South Sudan civilians killed, tortured
From RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM- THE violations such as torture and rape South Sudanese soldiers have perpetrated on civilians underscore the need for the national unity government to take immediate steps toward accountability for crimes by all warring parties in South Sudan’s conflict.
This is according to human rights groups that have documented a series of violations including sexual violence, killings and destruction of property.
The abuses, dating back to the start of the conflict in 2013, in the Western Bahr el Ghazal region took place during government counterinsurgency operations that intensified after an August 2015 peace deal.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported since December 2015, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) have attacked ethnic Fertit civilians in villages and neighborhoods of the town of Wau.
“With all eyes on the new national unity government in Juba, government soldiers have been literally getting away with murder in the country’s western regions,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at HRW.
“The new government should immediately call a halt to the abuse, free all arbitrarily detained civilians, and support the creation of a war crimes court that can investigate and prosecute those responsible, including at the highest levels of authority.”
The abuses in South Sudan have forced tens of thousands of people to flee, leaving villages and entire neighborhoods empty.
Since late 2015, local authorities, including the governor of the newly created Wau State, Elias Waya Nyipuoch, and community leaders have been reporting the spate of abuses to the army and other national government officials.
In early May, after condemnation of the crimes by United Nations peacekeeping mission, South Sudan’s army moved the soldiers out of positions in and around Wau.
South Sudan’s top army commanders need to rein in their forces, thoroughly investigate abuses and ensure that those responsible for abusing civilians are fairly held to account, Bekele said.
– CAJ News
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