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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs