World Africa 05 Aug 2016 South Sudan army sla ...

South Sudan army slams UN report alleging killings, rape

AFP
Published Aug 5, 2016, 8:58 pm IST
Updated Aug 5, 2016, 8:58 pm IST
The UN's top human rights officialblamed Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) troops loyal to President Salva Kiir for deadly attacks.
Nearly 300 people have died in South Sudan's latest bout of violence. (Photo: AP)
 Nearly 300 people have died in South Sudan's latest bout of violence. (Photo: AP)

Nairobi: South Sudan's army on Friday described a UN report alleging its troops carried out ethnically targeted killings and rapes as "baseless", saying not one victim had lodged a complaint.

The UN's top human rights official on Thursday blamed Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) troops loyal to President Salva Kiir for deadly attacks on the Nuer people during a bout of unrest in the capital in early July.

 

Kiir is from the Dinka ethnic group.

SPLA spokesman Lul Ruai Koang told AFP by phone that the UN's "baseless accusation" alleged attacks by men in uniform, who were not necessarily government soldiers.

He added that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein had not come forward to request that the force carry out an investigation based on his claims of hundreds of rapes and killings.

Nearly 300 people have died in South Sudan's latest bout of violence, and 60,000 have fled the country, many to refugee camps in neighbouring Uganda.

 

Those who fled have provided journalists and humanitarian organisations testimony of government troops killing family members, raping women as they tried to escape and looting homes.

But the SPLA said the force had not received "any complaint from alleged victims regarding the above mentioned issue."

 'Violations continue unabated'                

Of 217 cases of sexual violence in Juba recorded by the UN between July 8 and 25, "those most affected were displaced Nuer women and girls and those responsible seem to have been mostly SPLA," Zeid said.

 

Hussein also stated on Thursday that although the government has established a court martial aimed at trying SPLA soldiers who commit right abuses, "the violations continue unabated".

This was also untrue, the spokesman said, as 19 soldiers were currently on trial for crimes varying from looting to loitering to murder.

Ruai did not explain how those charges were brought if no victims had accused SPLA soldiers of these crimes.

Hussein presented his findings as the 13,500-strong UN peacekeeping force -- known as UNMISS -- faces criticism for failing to stem the latest bloodshed or fully protect civilians during the fighting.

 

East African leaders gathered in Ethiopia on Friday to discuss a regional intervention force to back up UN troops in South Sudan, an initiative vehemently opposed by Kiir.

More than 1.6 million people are displaced within the borders of the world's newest country as a result of one-off fighting since 2013.

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