UN human rights commission says it has documented 900 cases of abduction in South Sudan

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet (File photo)

October 19th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in a report on Thursday that it has documented almost 900 cases of abduction by armed group and the South Sudanese army in the Equatoria region.

The new report obtained by the Nyamilepedia on Thursday highlighted that close to 900 people were abducted and 24,000 forced to flee their homes during a flare-up of violence between South Sudan warring parties over the course of April and August this year.

The pointed an accusing finger at the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by South Sudan Former Vice-president Dr. Riek Machar Teny saying the opposition forces launched a series of attacks on civilians in April this year and targeted vulnerable people in Gbudue and Tumbura respectively.

“Corroborated victim and witness accounts indicate that women and girls as young as 12, abducted by opposition forces, were paraded and lined up for commanders to choose as “wives”. Those who were not chosen were left for other fighters who subjected them to repeated rapes. Abducted young men and boys were forced to be fighters or used as porters,” the report seen by the Nyamilepedia partly read.

The UN Human Rights Office believes that dozens of civilians and particularly women and children are still being held hostage by the South Sudanese main opposition calling  on the main opposition forces to immediately release those civilians.

“Most of the abducted civilians are, as far as we know, still being held captive. The SPLA-IO (RM) must immediately release them, first and foremost the children,” the report said.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, urged the Government to take tough action against perpetrators identifed in this report.

“As part of the revitalised peace process, it is also essential that the Government of South Sudan acts to hold the perpetrators of the abuses and violations detailed in this report to account,” Michelle said.

For his part, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General David Shearer, said he is alarmed at the report pointing out that it’s unfortunate that most of these atrocities against civilians were being committed by South Sudan warring parties at a time when the peace talks were taking place.

“A new peace agreement has been signed which puts the onus and responsibility on the warring parties to ensure that no atrocities are committed in future. UNMISS will be closely monitoring any potential violations and abuses,” Shearer said.