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South Sudan: Soldiers accused of raping children

26th Aug 2015
South Sudan: Soldiers accused of raping children
NEW YORK (AA): South Sudanese government forces have raped children and razed to the ground entire villages during its recent offensive that began in April in Unity state, according to UN experts. [West called South Sudan before its cessation from the Sudan as “Christian South” -The Muslim News]

In a report to the Security Council dated Aug. 21 but made public Tuesday, a panel of experts who monitor sanctions against the country said the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and allied forces conducted a “coordinated offensive” that targeted civilians.

“SPLA armed forces were intent on rendering communal life unviable and prohibiting any return to normalcy following the violence”, read the report.

The world’s youngest country has been torn by conflict since political in-fighting between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President Riek Machar spiraled into a full-fledged war in late 2013 involving their respective factions that has resulted in reported atrocities and possible war crimes.

Fighting flared in April when government forces launched a campaign against rebels in the oil-producing Unity state. The attacks in the state lasted until mid-June.

“Children have been particularly affected, as reports indicated that many have been killed, raped — including children as young as 7 —, abducted or recruited to take part in the fighting throughout the state”, said the UN experts.

The report said the SPLA was using so-called “scorched earth” tactics against civilians, “burning down houses — sometimes with occupants inside; looting cattle, other livestock and any valuables; and destroying and vandalizing key infrastructure such as schools and hospitals”.

Thousands of victims have been killed since the start of the conflict, with more than 2.2 million displaced, 600,000 of whom have fled to neighboring countries.

According to media reports, Kiir may sign a peace deal to end the conflict with Machar’s faction, amid threats of further sanctions from the UN Security Council if he doesn’t.

Machar signed an agreement last week, but Kiir refused to ink the deal, citing “reservations” about certain articles contained in the deal – especially those pertaining to executive authority.

Author: Mustafa Çağlayan
[Photo: South Sudanese soldiers in capital Juba, South Sudan on July 09, 2015. South Sudan soldiers accused of raping children and razing villages to ground. Photographer: Samir Bol/Anadolu Agency]

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