Juba, June 4, 2019 (SSNA) — South Sudanese government forces are abusing civilians in Yei River State, a new report by the United States-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) finds.
The rights group says it has documented government soldiers shooting at civilians, looting extensively, burning homes and crops, and chasing thousands of civilians from their villages. The report also adds that government forces committed rape and other r acts of sexual violence.
“Civilians are being targeted, killed, and raped, as government operations try to root out rebels in Yei River state. All parties need to put a stop to the crimes against civilians and ensure accountability, while the government should help people regain their homes and livelihoods,” HRW’s associate Africa director, Jehanne Henry, says.
The report discloses that at least 72 residents in Yei River State were interviewed and that they confirmed that government troops committed most crimes in Otogo and Mukaya counties. HRW also states that it interviewed humanitarian workers, ceasefire monitors, United Nations personnel, Yei River State governor, and state department officials who also confirmed that soldiers abuse civilians.
On January 30, 2019, government forces launched surprise attacks on the National Salvation Front positions in Yei River State. The government said they attacked the NAS because it refuses to back-up the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement. The NAS said the deal failed to address the cause of the civil war, labeling the pact “a recipe for more war.”