Government team claims Bentiu rape cases ‘unfounded and baseless’

South Sudan Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Awut Deng, left, shakes hand with President Kiir, right, at the State House in Juba on Thursday, December 20th 2018 (Nyamilepedia)

December 20th 2018 (Nyamilepedia)  – South Sudan government on Thursday denied claims by MSF that the army raped 150 women near Unity state capital Bentiu for ten days last months.

In November, the medical charity said,  South Sudan soldiers held 150 women near Bentiu and sexually harassed them. The claim by MSF resulted into an international uproar with calls on government to carry our investigation into the incident.

Last week,  President Kiir appointed a team headed by the Minister of Gender Awut Deng and directed them to travel to Bentiu as a fact-finding committee to investigate what really happened.

The team, according to a statement issued by the South Sudan Presidency, returned to the capital on Wednesday and met President Salva Kiir Mayardiit on Thursday and reported that the claims about rape are unfounded.

“The facts finding committee from the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare led by Hon. Minister Awut Deng Achuil on the incident of rape cases of 120 girls in Bentiu, Northern Liech State reported to President Salva Kiir that, the rape cases reported on the media by MSF Organization Holland are unfounded and baseless,” said the statement by the South Sudan Presidency.

The statement quoted the head of the team as saying that they found no evident of rape cases as reported by the MSF.

“There are no facts found to verify the rape cases of 120 girls in Bentiu Northern Liech as reported by MSF organization Holland,” Minister Awut is quoted as saying.

The statement further added that minister Awut Deng Achuil said “MSF organization refused to cooperate and provide details on rape incident.”