S. Sudan gov’t officials linked to supply of weapons to ethnic militias – UN report

A warring faction of SPLA raising weapons after a deadly clash in South Sudan war zones(Photo: file)

A warring faction of SPLA raising weapons after a deadly clash in South Sudan war zones(Photo: file)

March 9th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan government officials and army generals are implicated in the supply of weapons to the country’s many ethnic militia, a finding by the United Nations experts released on Monday said.

While presenting the report before the human rights council in Geneva this morning, Yasmin Soka, the Chair of UN Commission on Human Rights, said South Sudan has become an environment in which fundamental rights are trampled and eroded.

Soka who said killing, torture, rape, intentional starvation of civilians, intimidation, displacement, enforced disappearances and corruption have become the norm, warned that “while the revitalized peace process had led to a fragile peace at the national level, the conflict had shifted to an intensification of violence at localized levels.”

There is a great deal of hope that the peace we have at the moment will be sustainable, but six years of brutal conflict have left the country bitterly divided along ethnic lines,” she added.

We have documented how senior government officials and opposition leaders have been involved through proxies in cattle raiding, which is being used to exploit local rivalries and manipulate historical divisions between communities.”

The Commission found – in the report – that “high-ranking government officials were implicated in the supply of heavy military grade weapons including AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and PK machine guns to local militia.”

Cattle raiding could no longer be characterized as traditional clashes over cattle or criminality involving private citizens,” the Commission said in its report.

Cattle raiding had become a deliberate strategy to strengthen local governors and politicians at state and country level, where local militias were aligned to the warring parties and benefitted from personnel and weaponry. Some of these are supplied by parties to the conflict with the ultimate goal of displacing civilians perceived to be aligned to ‘the enemy.’”

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