Press statement by Relief Organization for South Sudan (ROSS)
August 14, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — We, the leadership of the Relief Organization for South Sudan (ROSS), wish to inform and create awareness among the international community, regional community and UN about the humanitarian disasters in many parts of Unity State of South Sudan. The South Sudan government troops and its militias have carried massive attacks on civilian populations of late. This has resulted in civilian killings, rapes, and other forms of human abuses. Looting and destruction of civilian’s crops in Mayiandit and Leer counties in Unity State have become the order of the day.
These barbaric attacks were carried out by South Sudan Government and its allied militias to disrupt humanitarian food distribution in Dablual Payam-Mayiandit County; which was scheduled from to take place between 27th July and August 2015. South Sudan Government and its allied Militias extended their attacks to Leer County on the 3rdAugust 2015 and committed atrocities similar to those of Dablual Payam in Mayiandit County.
This denial of humanitarian assistance being used as weapon to achieve war objectives against the displaced people in Southern Unity State and killings of innocent civilians by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir is a violation of both International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law.
This kind of behavior by South Sudan Government and its allied militia amounts to an outright violation of Article 4.1 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COH) signed on the 23rd Jan 2014 by the Republic of South Sudan and SPLM/A-IO in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. In this agreement, warring parties had agreed to allow free humanitarian access without hindrance.
The leadership of ROSS has recorded a number of incidences that happened as a result of Government of Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) forces’ actions against civilians during relief distribution and at times of cultivation which include and not limited to following:-
- Mayiandit County (Dablual Payam):
The Government of Juba troops accompanied by a Brigadier General and Koch County Commissioner, Koang Biel, launched barbaric attacks from Kuei and Patit in Koch County on the 26th July 2015; and penetrated to Mayiandit County through Pan Gaanlokluoch, Pantot, Maper, Jaguar and finally Dablual Payam on the 27th July 2015 where ROSS Deputy State Coordinator had to evacuate humanitarian workers to a nearby location.
These systematic attacks led to raping of 411 young girls and women, killing of 24 children (boys and girls), 16 elderly men and women and 40 other people whose bodies were rotten beyond recognition and abduction of 225 people (women, boys and girls). All cows and goats were looted; green maize from the farms was forcefully and prematurely harvested and carried by trucks to Tharjiath oil fields. Thousands of looted cows and goats were used to destroy flowering sorghum with the aim completely starving civilian population and expose them to inevitable famine.
- Leer County (Thonyor Payam)
On the 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th August 2015, Juba Government and its allied militias carried out cruel attacks against civilians in Payak, Rubchai, Nguek, Gaar, Paak, Pilieny, Panhiam, Dhorreat, Dhorleak, Tiep and Goot villages of Leer County.
These heinous attacks resulted in the killing of 31 elderly men and women, 250 boys and girls, raping of 225 young girls and women and abduction of 111 young boys for recruitment into military. Another 29,400 heads of cattle were looted and crops were destroyed.
Atrocities and abuses of similar nature happened in Guit and Rubkona counties. Several other incidences indicated government troops targeting civilians while in their farms and villages with an aim of disrupting the planting seasons and denying them harvest during the rainy season. After receiving reports on the above actions by government forces, the leadership of Humanitarian Affairs and ROSS would not hesitate to justified the fact that the Juba Government are doing all those issues in order to deny the humanitarian services to displaced people in many parts of South Sudan, particularly the SPLM/A-IO territory. So far many individuals from IDPs communities have experienced rapes, lack food, shelter and water and this has contributed to the loss of social, moral dignity and even more vulnerability among the displaced people. To the point that the Juba government deny ICRC the green light to pick wounded people for treatment while the allow ICRC to pick their wounded soldiers.
Our main objective is to ensure free access of humanitarian assistance to the displaced people in South Sudan as a matter of saving lives at risk and for this reason, we are calling on the international community and the IGAD country members to hold South Sudanese Government responsible for its actions of denying humanitarian services delivery to civilians at risk of starvation and diseases.
To avert this situation, the leadership of ROSS is calling on the international community to respond to these crises and prevent further situational deterioration; otherwise famine is inevitable in Southern Unity State and many parts of Shollo areas.
Hon. Gatwech Peter Kulang
Relief Organization for South Sudan (ROSS)
Pagak, South Sudan