UN says 440 people killed in South Sudan’s Tombura clashes

By Deng Machol

Juba – At least 440 civilians killed in fighting between warring groups in South Sudan’s Tombura  in just a few months last year, the United Nations said.

The clashes that broke  between June and September 2021, has also 18 injured, and 74 abducted.

64 civilians were also subjected to conflict-related sexual violence, among them a 13-year-old girl who was gang-raped to death, the report said, while at least 56 people were also reported missing.

“Grave human rights violations and abuses, including hundreds of killings, were committed against civilians during fighting in Tambura County, Western Equatoria State,” according to a joint report by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Human Rights Office.

In addition, some 80,000 were forced to flee their homes to escape fighting, it said.

“Looting and destruction of property, child conscription, attacks on personnel and facilities, hate speech and incitement to violence were among the other human rights violations the investigation uncovered,” the statement said.

The report blamed members of the armed forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his rival  Deputy President Riek Machar, and “their respective affiliated militias” for the violations and abuses.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to hold to account all individuals implicated in the killings, rape, and abductions, among other grave human rights violations,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. “Women and children who were abducted must immediately be released and reunited with their families, and survivors provided with reparations.”

The report says the suspected of instigating, facilitating and aiding the violence have been identified comprising high-ranking military officials and community and religious leaders.

”Allegations against these individuals must be promptly, thoroughly and independently investigated; and perpetrators brought to justice and held accountable,” Bachelet added.

The UNMISS and the UN Human Rights Office urge the Government of South Sudan to investigate and prosecute those responsible, including individuals in positions of command and authority.

The transitional government is yet to comment on the report.

 

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