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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs