Sexual violence in Unity State remains a serious concern – CTSAMM

A women pictured in an unknown location in South Sudan (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

January 23rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – Reports of sexual and gender based violence in South Sudan’s Unity region has remained one of the grave concerns according to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM).

In a report released on Tuesday, the peace monitoring body said rape cases have been reported in different locations outside the Northern Liech State capital Bentiu with senior government officials admitting the presence of “face-covered” criminals along roads linking Bentiu with small towns in the state.

In one incident for example, the CTSAMVM said it interviewed three women all of whom are victim of rape by these criminal and that they confirmed the presence of armed criminals along the road between Bentiu and Nhialdiu.

“Three women were interviewed along Nhialdiu Bentiu, they were on the way to Bentiu to collect WFP food rations.They all confirmed the presence of armed and face covered ‘criminals’ who subject women and Girls to SGBV daily,” the report partly read.

“They stressed the risk of using the main road and the fear of accessing short cults,” teh report added.

The report further said one of the elderly women in the group from among which the three women were interviewed was attacked and rendered destitute of her properties.

“One of the elderly women in the group was attacked and robbed on gun point in November. She was robbed of all her possessions including shoes and milk that she was carrying to Bentiu market,” the report added.

The CTSAMVM further said in the report that a breastfeeding woman was raped by the criminals along Nhialdiu road quoting eyewitnesses.

“On the 5 December 2018, they were shocked and in great fear for their lives when they witnessed armed and face covered criminals raping a breast feeding mother and daughter. Two young survivors (women) were abducted and rapped, physically assaulted and robbed of their possessions – cellphones , money , food stuffs by the armed, face covered criminals ‘ along the same road,” the reported further added.

The report said the deputy governor of Northern Liech state and a “commissioner at Rubkona confirmed the presence of the armed and face covered criminals in the communities.”

Speaking during the opening session of teh 3rd meeting of the CTSAMVM in Juba on Tuesday, the CTSAMM Chairman Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno said the issue of sexual violence remains a grave concern to the body.

“The issue of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Bentiu also remains a huge concern and while reported cases of SGBV have dropped somewhat in recent weeks there is a serious break down of law and order in the area and the Parties continue to fail in their obligation to protect civilians,” he said during the meeting.