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UN Mission In South Sudan Condemns Ethnic Killings In Bentiu

UN Mission In South Sudan Condemns Ethnic Killings In Bentiu

New York, Apr 21 2014 11:00AM

Opposition forces in South Sudan killed “hundreds of South Sudanese and foreign civilians” after determining their ethnicity or nationality when they captured Bentiu last week, the United Nations confirmed today, calling for an immediate stop to the targeting of “innocent, unarmed” civilians.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) strongly <"http://unmiss.unmissions.org/Portals/unmiss/%20Press%20Releases/April%202014/21%20April%202014%20Press%20Release_final.pdf">condemned the killings, which reportedly included attacks on a hospital, mosque and church, and a UN World Food Programme (WFP) compound.

“These atrocities must be fully investigated and the perpetrators and their commanders shall be held accountable,” said the Officer in Charge of UNMISS, Raisedon Zenenga, who also urged the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces and the Government troops to respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement they signed in January.

Over the past two months, thousands of people are believed to have been killed by fighting that began in mid-December as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy president, Riek Machar.

The Mission also decried the use of hate speech over the radio “declaring that certain ethnic groups should not stay in Bentiu and even calling on men from one community to commit vengeful sexual violence against women from another community”.

The attacks took place between 15 and 16 April, in the same timeframe that UNMISS extracted hundreds of civilians, some injured, who had taken refuge in places throughout Bentiu and Rubkona. The Mission is currently protecting more than 12,000 civilians on its base, and some 60,000 others around the country.

At the Bentiu Hospital, several Nuer men, women and children were killed on 15 April for hiding and refusing to join other Nuers who had gone out to cheer the SPLA as they entered the town.

“Individuals from other South Sudanese communities, as well as Darfuris, were specifically targeted and killed at the hospital,” UNMISS confirmed in today’s statement.

According to the Mission, the SPLA also entered the Kali-Ballee Mosque where civilians had taken shelter, separated people into nationalities and ethnic groups, and killed some of them.

“More than 200 civilians were reportedly killed and over 400 wounded at the Mosque,” UNMISS said.

At a Catholic church and at the vacated WFP compound, SPLA soldiers similarly asked civilians who had taken refuge there to identify their ethnic origins and nationalities and proceeded to target and kill several individuals.

ENDS

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