As per the United NATIONS (UN) research, at least 440 civilians died due to the brutal fighting between the rival factions in southwestern South Sudan over just a few months in 2021.
The report comes, but as a warning by the United States in February, the world’s youngest country is on the edge of risk a return to war, with episodes of interethnic brutality and political infighting risking to undo even the limited progress made in executing a stuttering peace process.
According to a joint report issued on Tuesday by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) & the United Nations Human Rights Office, “serious human rights offences and misusages, in which hundreds of killings involved, which were committed against civilians during fighting in Tambura County, Western Equatoria State.”
It blamed the violence on members of President Salva Kiir’s armed forces and rivals in Vice President Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) and “their respective affiliated militias.”
The report found that at least 440 civilians were killed in fighting between rival groups in Tambura county between June and September last year, 18 injured and 74 abducted.
Nearly 64 civilians were targeted to the conflict linked to sexual violence, among the 13-year-old girls who faced gang rape and death; however, 56 people were reported missing during the time of June-September.
In addition, nearly 80,000 were forced to run from their own houses if they wanted to save themselves from fighting, it said.
“Looting and collapse of property, child conscription, attacks on personnel and facilities, hatred lecture and provocation to violence were among the other human rights violations the investigation uncovered.
According to the report, a large number of victims and witnesses interviewed “depicted men armed with AK-47 rifles, machine guns, and other weapons such as machetes, knives, and clubs.”
The attacker always walk in small groups, and their dress code is always all black, and they often conceal their faces and speak a mixture of languages — Azande, Balanda and Arabic, it said.
The Tambura region, which does not have so much distance from the border with the Central African Republic, has long been the scene of a dispute between the Azande and Balanda ethnic groups.
According to ‘Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “We call on all parties to the conflict to hold accountable all individuals involved in the killings, rapes, and abductions, among other grave human rights violations.”
“The perpetrators of such heinous violence against South Sudan’s men, women, and children cannot be allowed to go free,” she added.