About 173 civilians killed in Unity State clashes-UN Report  

By William Madouk Garang

The newly released Human rights report revealed that the death toll of civilians allegedly killed in Unity State’s aggressions stands at 173 for the period of 4 months only, with 12 others bruised and 37 women plus children kidnaped.

The UN joint report indicated that gross violations, gang rape against teenage girls and women plus abuses on aid agencies have been documented, and the horror forced 44,000 civilians to flee their homes.

Similarly, about 3,000 individuals sought refuge in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) sites in Rubkona and Bentiu in northern Unity State.

The report published by UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and the Office of UN High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), accused government and all armed forces of instigating conflict.

“[Joint report] has documented gross violations and abuses of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan’s Unity State” read part of report obtained by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

“These violations were committed during clashes between joint Government Forces and affiliated armed militias/groups on one hand, and elements of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO (RM)) – loyal to First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar – on the other,” it added.

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

“The hostilities in southern Unity State affected at least 28 villages and settlements — with approximately 173 civilians killed, 12 injured, and 37 women and children abducted,” the report noted.

The human rights report said 131 cases of rape were recorded, asserting that many abductees were subjected to sexual violence, including girls of eight-years-old and a nine-year who was gang-raped to death.

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 under first Vice president Riek Machar also perpetrated attacks in Mirmir Payam, of Koch County.

A witness from Port Adok said: “My daughter told me that she was gang-raped by more than five youth for two nights, asked to cook for them and fetch water from the river.

“I witnessed three babies grabbed from their mothers and killed by the attackers, jumping on them until they died. Other children were forcibly taken from their mothers and thrown alive into burning tukuls”.

Another source from Thouriak said, she heard gunshots (…) then saw five men shot and killed on the spot (…) and also witnessed two old women and one child burnt in their tukuls.

“Five of the attackers, hit me in the abdomen with the rifle butt while others kept kicking my babies to stop crying. (…) they continued to attack others while I ran to hide my children in the swamp for four days before reaching Muom” the unanimous source said.

“They raped me in turns and one of them said she is beautiful we can keep her; when it was his turn, he asked the others to keep the gun to my head as he did not want any resistance from me. They were violent and I was crying and so were my babies” one of the rape survivors narrated.

“He then asked me not to disturb him or they will kill my babies. I could not lose my children, so I kept silent while all five of them raped me. I felt that was the end of me as the muzzle of the rifle was pointed to my head”.

The report said that violence in Southern Unity State was exacerbated by hate speech through various mediums, including senior government officials played key role in spreading hate speech and incitement to violence.

However, the government of South Sudan especially army leadership is yet to comment of the matter.

Comments are closed.