Rape in S Sudan worst ever: UN envoy

2014-10-11 09:36
South Sudan family (AP)

South Sudan family (AP)

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

Bentiu - The levels of rape in war-torn South Sudan are the worst the UN special envoy on sexual violence has ever seen, she told AFP on Friday, after meeting scores of survivors of attacks.

"In all my life and experience of nearly 30 years in public service and in the UN and as a government minister, I have never seen what I have seen today," Zainab Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, told AFP.

Bangura, who comes from Sierra Leone, said she had witnessed brutal violence during the civil war there, but conditions in South Sudan after almost ten months of conflict were worse in terms of attacks on women and girls.

She said she had been in the Sierra Leone capital Freetown when it fell. "We picked bodies from streets and buried them."

Speaking in the South Sudan town of Bentiu, which has repeatedly changed hands in the war, she said both government troops and rebels were committing rapes.

Thousands of people have been killed and almost two million have fled fighting between government troops, mutinous soldiers and ragtag militia forces divided along tribal lines.

Almost 100 000 people are sheltering in squalid UN peacekeeping bases fearing they will be killed if they leave the barbed wire protection.

"It's unbelievable. It's painful. It's challenging to see the conditions under which these women live, the harassments and sexual violence that take place at check points, and when the women go out to get food, and when they go out to get fire wood. It's really extremely distressing," Bangura said.

"These are not conditions and circumstances under which women can live. I heard a story of a woman who had just given birth who had been raped, I heard a story of an old woman who was raped, children as young as 10 or 11 years who are being raped on daily basis."

Fighting broke out in the oil-rich country, also the world's youngest nation, in December 2013 following a clash between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

The war spread rapidly across the country and has been marked by widespread human rights abuses and atrocities by both sides.

Bangura is visiting South Sudan in a bid to persuade both sides to end the violence and rekindle stalled peace efforts.

"I have travelled around the world and I come from a conflict country, but I have never seen what I saw today," she said, adding it was worse than conditions she had seen in many countries including Bosnia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Somalia.

"This is the worst case scenario for me, it is extremely difficult to deal with."

Read more on:    un  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.