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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid