South Sudan army raped, burnt girls alive: UN
Iran Press TV
Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:29AM
The United Nations (UN) has accused the South Sudanese army of raping and torching girls alive during a recent battle in a flashpoint border state.
Investigators from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) made the announcement in a report published on Tuesday.
The report was based on the testimonies of 115 victims and eyewitnesses from the northern state of Unity.
Unity State, also known as Western Upper Nile, is located in the northeast of South Sudan, close to the international borders with the Republic of Sudan.
The area has recently been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the 18-month-long civil war in the world's youngest country.
The UN said that fighting, specifically in the Mayom district, once a key oil producing area, raged between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and rebel forces in April.
"Survivors of these attacks reported that SPLA and allied militias from Mayom County carried out a campaign against the local population that killed civilians, looted and destroyed villages and displaced over 100,000 people," the UN report said.
"Some of the most disturbing allegations compiled by UNMISS human rights officers focused on the abduction and sexual abuse of women and girls, some of whom were reportedly burnt alive in their dwellings," it added.
The report said that the UN investigators had collected eyewitness accounts of at least nine separate incidents where "women and girls were burnt in tukuls (huts) after being gang-raped."
There was no immediate reaction from the South Sudanese army. The country has dismissed similar reports in the past.
The UN said the report had been handed to government officials, who were yet to comment on its findings.
South Sudan plunged into chaos in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy and current rebel leader, Riek Machar, around the capital, Juba.
The clashes that ensued have left tens of thousands of people dead and forced millions of others from their homes.
South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 after its people overwhelmingly voted in a referendum for a split from Sudan.
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