News / Africa

Rights Group Calls for Probe After Cluster Bombs Found in South Sudan

Jonglei, South Sudan
Jonglei, South Sudan
Lucy Poni
Human Rights Watch has called on Kampala and Juba to investigate new evidence that cluster bombs have been used in South Sudan’s ongoing conflict after United Nations experts found remnants of the banned weapons near Bor in Jonglei state.

“The young nation of South Sudan has enough problems without these horrific weapons, which kill and keep on killing long afterward,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).

“The governments involved should quickly find out who is behind this and make clear they will be held responsible,” he said in a statement.

The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) found up to eight cluster bomb remnants and an unspecified number of unexploded submunitions, called "bomblets", by a stretch of road 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Bor, in an area "not known to be contaminated" before fighting broke out in South Sudan in mid-December, HRW said.

"The UN experts concluded that this was a recent use of cluster bombs, because they have been up and down this road in the past," Human Rights Watch Deputy Director Leslie Lefkow said.

Bor has changed hands at least four times in clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and opposition forces. 

The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) has been supporting South Sudan’s government forces, including with air power, HRW said.

Both South Sudanese and Ugandan forces have the capacity to drop the types of cluster munitions found near Bor, while, "As far as we know, the opposition forces in South Sudan do not have air capacity,” Lefkow said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week condemned the use of cluster bombs in the South Sudan conflict, but has not indicated who the UN believes was responsible.

Both Juba and Kampala have denied using cluster bombs, which are banned by an international treaty to which Uganda is a signatory. 

Uganda’s army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said he would welcome an investigation into the use of the banned munitions in South Sudan, adding that Uganda was not responsible for the use of the bombs near Bor.
.
“We don’t have cluster bombs. We don’t intend to possess them and we have not used them anywhere. Let them investigate," Ankunda said.

Cluster munitions are designed to explode in the air, sending shrapnel over a wide area. Eighty-four countries have ratified the 2008 convention prohibiting the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of the weapons.

Lefkow said the cluster bomb remnants found near Bor are particularly dangerous because they can still be triggered weeks after they were dropped, which potentially puts civilians at risk as they return to their homes.

Bonifacio Taban and Karin Zeitvogel contributed to this report from Kampala and Washington D.C.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid