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Violence targeting civilians increased in 2020 compared to 2019

Oct 14, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The violence against civilians in South Sudan has seen a resurgence this year compared to last year.

Women who fled Mayendit rest in a shelter in Ganyiel. (photo credit: Albert Gonzalez Farran/For The Washington Post)

According to a Stimson report released yesterday, the targeting of civilians has been far higher in 2020 than in 2019.

The report alludes that most of the violence targeting civilians is attributed to intercommunal violence.

“April-June 2020, UNMISS reports that this intercommunal violence was responsible for over 86% of civilian harm, an increase of 11% from earlier in the year.” It stated.

The report continued that death and physical injury continue to be the most dominant forms of violence against civilians with men, especially young men making up the majority of victims.

Women and children tend to face greater secondary impacts such as having less access to education, healthcare and livelihood activities.

Stimson further reported that community militia and self-defense groups are primarily responsible for the significant rise in intercommunal violence with their attacks appearing to have some prior coordination and local buy-in.

“In attacks occurring in Jonglei and Greater Pibor in the first half of 2020, these groups had the reported approval of local religious leaders from the Lou Nuer and Murle communities to commit attacks, as well as individual participation from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO (RM)) and the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF),” the report stated.

Although it has shown decrease from the previous years, that the report says government forces and armed groups has greatly contributed to violence against civilians especially when the fight is between government forces and sections of SPLA-IO (RM), as well as the government’s targeting of the National Salvation Front (NAS) like in the case of Yei (Central Equatoria) and Mundri, Maridi, Mvolo and Tambura (Western Equatoria).

 The report mentioned opportunistic actors as being responsible for about 3% of violence against civilians this year.

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