Government security forces in South Sudan executed civilians and gang raped women and girls during and after heavy fighting last month in the capital Juba, the United Nations human rights chief said on Thursday.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the government of President Salva Kiir to prosecute perpetrators and urged world powers to take “urgent action” to halt violence in the world’s newest state.
“While some civilians were killed in crossfire between the fighting forces, others were reportedly summarily executed by Government (SPLA) soldiers, who appear to have specifically targeted people of Nuer origin,” Zeid said in a statement.
“The fighting also resulted in widespread sexual violence, including rape and gang rape by soldiers in uniform and men in plain clothes.”
At least 217 cases of sexual violence in Juba had been documented during the period of July 8-25, he said.
“In a few areas, women from various ethnic groups were raped by heavily armed youth believed to be affiliated to the SPLA in Opposition (SPLA/IO),” Zeid said.
“However, according to the information we have gathered so far, those most affected were displaced Nuer women and girls and those responsible seem to have been mostly SPLA.”