Tag Archives: South Sudan war

Sitting Back and Watching-Cannibalism and Rape in South Sudan

South Sudan

The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, Excerpt on Human Rights Violations, released October 27,2015

The Commission found cases of sexual and gender based violence committed by both parties against women. It also documented extreme cruelty exercised through mutilation of bodies, burning of bodies, draining human blood from people who had just been killed and forcing others from one ethnic community to drink the blood or eat burnt human flesh. Such claims were registered during interviews of witnesses of crimes committed in Juba.

Elsewhere, witnesses of crimes committed in Bor Town, also provided evidence of brutal killings and cruel mutilations of dead bodies. In Malakal town, reports of abduction and disappearance of women from churches and the hospital where communities had sought refuge during the hostilities that began in December 2013 were rife. In Unity State, Bentiu, the capital has been the focus of much of the fighting, having changed hands several times between government and opposition soldiers during the course of the conflict. Bentiu town is largely destroyed. In Leer county, the Commission heard testimony of civilians, including children and teenagers killed, houses, farms and cattle burned, and of sexual violence.

The Commission found that most of the atrocities were carried out against civilian populations taking no active part in the hostilities. Places of religion and hospitals were attacked, humanitarian assistance was impeded, towns pillaged and destroyed, places of protection were attacked and there was testimony of possible conscription of children under 15 years old….

The Commission also found that civilians were targeted in Malakal, which was under the control of both parties at different times during the conflict. Serious violations were committed in Malakal Teaching Hospital through the killings of civilians and women were raped at the Malakal Catholic Church between 18th and 27th February 2014. In Bentiu the Commission heard testimony of the extremely violent nature of the rape of women and girls – that in some instances involved maiming and dismemberment of limbs. Testimony from women in UNMISS PoC Site in Unity State detailed killings, abductions, disappearances, rapes, beatings,
stealing by forces and being forced to eat dead human flesh.

South Sudan: Conflict Background

The Use of Drones in Peacekeeping Operations: South Sudan

Jamam refugee camp from the air. image from wikipedia

The U.N. Security Council is urging the use of unarmed drones in the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, but the government there says that could cause “disagreement and hostility” as a peace deal tries to take hold.  The council on October 9, 2015 adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution requesting the U.N. secretary-general to “prioritize” the deployment of remaining troops, plus military helicopters and drones. The U.N. is exploring the use of drones in a growing number of peacekeeping missions after first using them in Congo in 2013.  But deploying the drones — even getting them into South Sudan — needs government consent. “The mission requires the collaboration and cooperation from the host authorities for its operations, including air and aviation ones,” a U.N. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.  Ambassador Francis Deng told the council that requesting drones without consulting his government is “to invite controversy.”

South Sudan’s rival sides signed a peace deal in August 2015, but numerous cease-fire violations have been reported. Each side blames the other for the violations. Meanwhile, more than 100,000 civilians remain sheltered in U.N. bases throughout the country. Thousands have been killed in the conflict fueled by the rivalry between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar.  The council resolution also extends the peacekeeping mission’s mandate until Dec. 15 while supporting the implementation of the peace deal. The mission has more than 12,500 uniformed personnel on the ground.

Excerpts from UN Wants Peacekeeping Drones in South Sudan, Which Objects, Associated Press, Oct. 10, 2015

The South Sudan Blow Up

Jonglei,_South_Sudan

More than 300 people were killed and thousands sent fleeing into bush during two weeks of fighting between South Sudan’s army, rebels and rival tribes in the east of the country last month, officials said.  South Sudan’s army is grappling with a rebellion led by politician David Yau Yau in vast Jonglei state and new clashes have broken out between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes. More than 1,600 people have been killed in a cycle of tribal violence in Jonglei since the break-up of Africa’s largest country.

Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full-blown civil war, undermining stability in the young African country, which is awash with arms after decades of conflict with Khartoum that led to its secession from Sudan in 2011, Reuters reports.  A team of local chiefs travelling around Pibor County in Jonglei had reported 328 deaths so far – all Murle members and some of them women and children, according to Jodi Jonglei Boyoris, a senior state representative. The number of Lou Nuer killed and wounded remained unknown. Boyoris said he expected the death toll to rise although the fighting had died down this month…

The United Nations has said thousands of people are hiding in the bush outside Pibor town in Jonglei to avoid the conflict between the army and Yau Yau, who says he is fighting corruption, army abuses and one-party rule in South Sudan.  The United Nations estimates 100,000 people have been affected by the conflict, with many fleeing to the bush and cut off from humanitarian access

Excerpt, Over 300 killed, thousands uprooted in bout of South Sudan fighting, Reuters, Aug. 12, 2013

Private Satellite Reveals Preparation for Conflict

Sudan has deployed a heavily armoured brigade along a road leading to an armed opposition group’s stronghold in Blue Nile State and may be poised to launch an attack, a satellite monitoring activist group said on Friday {Sept. 23, 2011}.  The SPLM-North opposition group said the Sudanese air force had conducted attacked an area in Blue Nile where fighting broke out between the army and opposition earlier this month.Washington-based Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) said at least 3,000 troops were “pointed south” along the road to Kurmuk, a town near the Ethiopian border which is seen as a SPLM-North stronghold.

Satellite images captured on September 21 and analysed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, showed a “wall of armour” near Dindiro, a town around 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Kurmuk, said SSP which was founded by actor George Clooney and other activists.  The group said it had identified what appeared to be main battle tanks, towed artillery, infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and troop transporters, apparently accompanied by six Hind attack helicopters.  The Sudanese army could not be reached for comment.

Events in Blue Nile are difficult to verify because most foreign media cannot travel there and aid agencies complain of a lack of access to fighting areas.  On Thursday, new clashes broke out in Blue Nile’s neighbouring state of South Kordofan where the army is also fighting SPLM-North groups.  Both border states are home to large populations which sided with South Sudan during decades of civil war and found themselves in north Sudan after the South became independent on July 9 under a 2005 peace deal.  Khartoum accuses its former civil war foe of supporting the armed opposition in the two border states. Juba denies the charges.

Excerpt, Sudan deploys troops, tanks in border state: group, Reuters Africa, Sep 24, 2011