Piles of bodies in S Sudan slaughter

2014-04-22 17:05

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left "piles and piles" of bodies - many of those in a mosque - in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the UN's top humanitarian official in the country said on Tuesday.

Toby Lanzer told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Tuesday that the ethnically targeted killings are "quite possibly a game-changer" for a conflict that has been raging since mid-December and that has exposed longstanding ethnic hostilities.

There was also a disturbing echo of Rwanda, which is marking the 20th anniversary this month of its genocide that killed 1 million people.

"It's the first time we're aware of that a local radio station was broadcasting hate messages encouraging people to engage in atrocities," said Lanzer, who was in Bentiu on Sunday and on Monday.

"And that really accelerates South Sudan's descent into an even more difficult situation from which it needs to extract itself."

UN human rights investigators said late on Monday that hundreds of civilians were killed last week because of their ethnicity after rebel forces seized Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state.

Those rebel forces are Nuer, the same ethnic group that former Vice President Riek Machar, who is now a rebel leader, comes from.

Lanzer said thousands of civilians from several ethnic groups are streaming to the UN peacekeeping base in Bentiu because many believe more violence is coming. The base now holds 25 000 people but has only one litre of water per person per day and only one latrine per 350 people.

"The risk of a public health crisis inside our base is enormous," he said.

As rebel forces entered Bentiu last week, residents were led to believe that by entering the city mosque they would be safe, Lanzer said, citing accounts from survivors.

But once inside they were robbed of their valuables - mostly money and mobile phones - and a short while later gunmen arrived and began killing, both inside the mosque and inside the city hospital.

British Ambassador Ian Hughes on Tuesday said the killings are a clear violation of international law. He said those behind the atrocities and those inciting the killings will be held to account.

UN officials began helping to clear the bodies from the streets and city buildings. Lanzer arrived in Bentiu on the third day of that operation but still counted 150 bodies.

He said the UN is documenting the killings and will soon have "a pretty good grasp" on the precise number killed.

The violence is only one part of a dual crisis South Sudan faces. Because of all the fighting, very few residents are tending to their crops. Lanzer said there is a severe risk of famine in coming months because April and May is when people should be planting and cultivating.

The UN hasn't spelled out clearly who exactly the victims were, but because ethnic Nuers carried out the killings it is mostly likely that ethnic Dinkas were among those killed.

The UN also said former residents of the Darfur region of Sudan were among those killed in the slaughter. Nuer residents who refused to take part in the attacks were also killed.

The UN has been warning of mounting evidence of ethnically-targeted killings in the world's newest nation as both government troops and rebel forces lose and gain territories in sporadic clashes.

Despite a ceasefire signed earlier this year, both sides continue to trade allegations over human rights violations.

- AP
Read more on:    south sudan
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

4 exercise excuses and how to beat them

Now is the time to kick those excuses right out the door!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Watch: Insane road bike skills!
The most extreme journey ever?
Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!
Adventure holidays for your bucket list

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to focus too intently on outer appearance and beauty which hides who you really are. You are being challenged...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.