Prisoners 'tortured' in South Sudan shipping container prisons

2016-05-27 08:46

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

Nairobi – Dozens of prisoners in South Sudan are being held in conditions amounting to torture, crammed into metal containers in baking heat with minimal water and food, Amnesty International said on Friday.

Several prisoners, mostly civilians accused of links to opposition or rebel groups but who have not been charged, have died from the punishment, the rights group said. Soldiers have also beaten the prisoners, Amnesty added.

"Detainees are suffering in appalling conditions and their overall treatment is nothing short of torture," said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International's chief in East Africa, adding that prisoners are "fed only once or twice a week and given insufficient drinking water."

There was no immediate response from South Sudan's army, who denied previous reports they suffocated prisoners in similar shipping containers last year.

In South Sudan, metal containers are often used as makeshift prison cells. Temperatures in can easily top 40 degrees Celsius.

Amnesty said the prisoners were held in a basic prison site called Gorem, some 20km south of the capital Juba.

Satellite images released of what they believe is the prison site show four metal shipping containers arranged in an L-shape inside a double perimeter fence.

"All detainees should be released or charged and brought before independent courts," Wanyeki said, adding that most are civilians who "have not been charged with any offence."


In October 2015, government troops killed at least 50 people in the town of Leer by stuffing them into a shipping container in baking heat, according to ceasefire monitors from the internationally-backed Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).

The government denied those killings, but Amnesty investigators later spoke to 23 eyewitnesses who saw the men and boys forced into the container with their hands tied or saw the bodies later dragged away and dumped.

Civil war erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 but rebel chief Riek Machar returned to the capital last month as part of a peace deal which saw him become vice-president, forging a unity government with President Salva Kiir.

However, fighting continues among multiple militia forces who now pay no heed to either Kiir or Machar.

All sides have been accused of perpetrating ethnic massacres, recruiting and killing children and carrying out widespread rape, torture and forced displacement of populations to "cleanse" areas of their opponents.

Read more on:    amnesty international  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! 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.

Inside News24

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 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.