News / Africa

South Sudan Detains Soldiers Suspected of Ethnic Killings, Official Says

South Sudanese government soldier in Unity State, South Sudan, Sunday, Jan 12, 2014. A government official says an unspecified number of SPLA soldiers have been detained on suspicion they carried out targeted ethnic killings.
South Sudanese government soldier in Unity State, South Sudan, Sunday, Jan 12, 2014. A government official says an unspecified number of SPLA soldiers have been detained on suspicion they carried out targeted ethnic killings.
Charlton Doki
The South Sudan government has arrested an unspecified number of members of the security forces who are suspected of targeting and killing civilians on the basis of their ethnicity, an official said Thursday.

“We know that some individuals from the military, from the SPLA who were accused of targeting some groups are now under detention. And they are going to be investigated as to why they did that and whenever they are found guilty then they will be dealt with,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said.

The announcement of the detentions came hard on the heels of a report released by Human Rights Watch, which documented widespread killings of Nuer men by members of the South Sudanese armed forces in Juba since fighting erupted in the capital city on Dec. 15.

The report also said ethnic Dinka were killed by opposition forces in other parts of the country.

Human Rights Watch said many of the crimes committed in South Sudan are "serious violations of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity."

Makol said the government has launched a campaign to explain that the fighting that continues to wrack South Sudan, a month after it started, is not a conflict between Nuer and Dinka.

He said the government has established a committee that is "going to go around South Sudan to tell the people... that that the thing that happened was not a tribal thing. It was not based on any tribal affiliation, it was politically motivated.”

Makol accused opposition forces of stoking ethnic tensions in a bid to gain support for themselves.

“This issue of tribal affiliations has been used by the rebels to try to rally support so that they get people to support them," he said.

Last month, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it had "mounting evidence" that serious human rights abuses, including targeted ethnic killings, were being committed in South Sudan.

The majority of what UNMISS described as "the more brutal atrocities" were reportedly carried out by "people wearing uniform," the U.N mission said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch compiled its report after interviewing more than 200 victims of and witnesses to abuses in Juba and Bor. Violence is still raging in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, but Juba has been relatively calm for several weeks.

In addition to targeted ethnic killings, Human Rights Watch said it has received multiple reports of looting of medical and humanitarian facilities, and of the government denying authorization for aid workers to travel to areas where people are in desperate need of aid.

International medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told VOA Thursday that its compound in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state where the two sides have been fighting for several days, was looted by unidentified gunmen.

"The South Sudanese government and leaders of opposition forces should ensure unhindered access by U.N. and independent humanitarian agencies to displaced and other civilians in need of assistance and protection," Human Rights Watch said.

"Both sides should respect medical and humanitarian facilities, material and staff, as required by international law. Anyone who blocks or otherwise doesn’t cooperate with independent humanitarian activities should be held accountable," it said in its report.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs