UN slams ‘revolting acts’ by S Sudan govt-backed forces

Geneva: The UN slammed government-backed troops in South Sudan on Tuesday for ruthlessly targeting civilians in opposition-held areas, killing hundreds and using sexual violence, including gang-raping young children, as weapons of war.
The UN human rights office said its monitors had in recent months documented “what appear to be deliberate, ruthless and brutally violent attacks on civilians, particularly against women and children”.
The agency said at least 234 civilians were killed and many more injured in attacks between April 16 and May 24 by government and aligned forces and armed youth in villages in opposition-controlled areas in Mayendit and Leer in Unity State.
More than 5,000 people had sought sanctuary at UN protected sites in Leer and Bentiu, and another 18,000 had sought refuge in Mayendit town, the UN said. Another 8,000 were estimated to be hiding in the bushes and swamps, it added.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein called on the South Sudanese government to halt attacks on civilians and to ensure those behind the violence are brought to justice.
“The perpetrators of these revolting acts against defenceless civilians, including those bearing command responsibility, must not be allowed to get away with it,” he said.
He urged South Sudan and the African Union to move quickly to establish a hybrid court to try those responsible for serious crimes.
Two years after separating from Sudan in 2011, oil-rich South Sudan plunged into a war that has since killed tens of thousands of people and displaced four million, after President Salva Kiir accused his then-deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. — AFP