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Panel Opens Probe into South Sudan Atrocities

  • VOA News

A family at the Kalma refugee camp near Nyala, Sudan, takes shelter under a donkey cart in this photo by the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) March 9, 2014.

A family at the Kalma refugee camp near Nyala, Sudan, takes shelter under a donkey cart in this photo by the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) March 9, 2014.

The head of a newly established commission that will probe atrocities in South Sudan has pledged to leave "no stone unturned" as the panel investigates alleged human rights violations and other abuses.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo spoke on Wednesday, shortly after the five-member African Union commission was sworn in.

Obasanjo said both "Africans and non-Africans" worldwide would be watching how his panel approached its work. He said the panel would work to prove that "Africa has come of age" and can manage its own issues.

The panel will investigate atrocities that have occurred since an armed conflict erupted in mid-December.

South Sudan's government accused former vice president Riek Machar of leading an alleged coup attempt in mid-December. The accusation set off weeks of deadly fighting, including clashes between pro- and anti-government troops, and alleged ethnic violence between the Dinka and the Nuer, the country's two largest tribes.

The violence has left thousands dead and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

In January, the government and rebel forces signed a cease-fire, but clashes have continued.

The commission is expected to submit its report to the African Union Peace and Security Council in three months.

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