UN accuses South Sudan armed groups of committing atrocities on civilians
JUBA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- A report by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) accused armed factions of committing atrocities against civilians in the Central Equatoria region.
The report that was released on Wednesday by UNMISS's Human Rights Division alleged that government troops and fighters from two rival opposition groups killed, raped and arbitrarily detained civilians between September 2018 and April 2019.
UNMISS said it documented 95 separate incidents of violations and abuses where at least 104 civilians were killed and almost the same number of women and girls were raped or suffered sexual violence.
"At least 150 civilians were also held in captivity by these groups, including women and girls taken as 'wives' by commanders or raped and beaten by multiple fighters," the report reads in part.
The report said the violence displaced more than 56,000 civilians and forced nearly 20,000 others to migrate to neighboring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
UNMISS blamed the violence on rebel groups of the National Salvation Front (NAS), the South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) and government troops backed by forces from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) linked to former vice president Riek Machar.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital Juba in July 2016.
Under the 2018 peace deal, opposition leader Riek Machar with four others will once again be reinstated as Kiir's deputy.
But a unity government that was initially planned for May 12 was extended by six months following delays in implementing the pact.
UNMISS said unlike in Central Equatoria, security has improved in rest of South Sudan following the signing of the peace deal in September 2018.
The parties mentioned in the UNMISS report are yet to respond to the allegations.
But UNMISS said it engaged the parties on issues raised in the report, adding that it received a copy of a letter from Riek Machar instructing his commanders to investigate the findings of the report and to hold perpetrators to account.