What's Happening in South Sudan Is Horrifying

The AP reports on 14 unreleased reports on atrocities there
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 6, 2018 12:41 PM CDT
What's Happening in South Sudan Is Horrifying
In this Tuesday, May 30, 2017 file photo, South Sudanese soldiers accused of a horrific attack on foreign aid workers including rape, torture, killing and looting on the Terrain hotel compound, are assisted to a prison van after attending their trial in the capital Juba, South Sudan.   (AP Photo/Bullen Chol, File)

The accounts are horrific. A young girl strangled and gang-raped. Children burned alive as government soldiers blocked the door of their hut and set it aflame. These are some of the atrocities revealed in 14 reports, seen by the AP, that have not yet been released by the independent body charged with monitoring a failed cease-fire imposed in December in South Sudan, where civil war is now well into its fifth year, has killed tens of thousands, and has created Africa's largest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The reports should have been released last month at a meeting led by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission but South Sudan's government did not attend, preventing the accounts of abuses from being made public because there was not a quorum.

The unpublished reports describe violations by both government and opposition forces but most of the accounts blame the former. One report describes a disabled woman who, unable to flee the fighting, was thrown into a burning house by government soldiers. The US, South Sudan's largest aid donor, has increased pressure on the Juba government amid widespread allegations that its officials are profiting from the conflict instead of working to end it. Last week the UN Security Council adopted a US-sponsored resolution that warns of an arms embargo and sanctions against six high-ranking officials if the fighting doesn't stop. The US and others, however, insist that the East African regional bloc, along with the African Union, should take the lead in finding peace and holding perpetrators of abuses accountable.

(More South Sudan stories.)

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