Kiir marches against rebels, probes Bentiu rapes

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A woman at the front of a line for water in the UNMISS camp near Bentiu

By Radio Tamazuj

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Wednesday issued an order forming a committee of inquiry on reported rapes in Bentiu.

On November 30, the medical agency, Doctors Without Borders said that its staff in the town of Bentiu had treated 125 women and girls who were raped, beaten, and robbed over a 10-day period between November 19 and 29 alone.

Kiir’s decree gave power to the committee to probe into rape and other sexual violence against women and girls in Bentiu.

The investigation committee will be headed by Deng Chier Rehan from the ministry of justice. Four other senior officials from various government institutions were appointed as members.

They have been tasked to come up with recommendations to prevent such incidents from occurring again. The committee is expected to submit its findings within 21 working days.

It remains unclear whether the findings of the first investigation team that visited Bentiu town have been cancelled or not.

The right group Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called on South Sudan’s government to urgently investigate sexual violence against women and girls in Unity region.

The group said its researchers visited Bentiu between December 7 and 12 and found evidence of a pattern of attacks on women and girls traveling to and from town for food distributions and other errands.

The UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix condemned in the strongest terms the prevalence of sexual violence in South Sudan, saying the recent sexual assaults in Unity region are a stark reminder.

Army threatens attacks on NAS insurgents

South Sudan army says more military action possible against rebel fighters led by General Thomas Cirillo.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday, Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said the army will take action against NAS rebels if they do not end violence.

He said two government soldiers died in battles after attacks by insurgents loyal to the former army general Thomas Cirillo in Lobonok, an area located about 30 kilometers south of Juba on the east bank of the Nile.

“NAS rebels ambushed our forces between Lobonok and Karpeto, and as a result two soldiers were killed and ten others wounded. Our force was trying to rescue civilians who were being attacked by NAS forces on 16 December,” he said.

Lul further said two government soldiers were also killed and five others wounded after NAS fighters ambushed their forces in Yei River State on 16 December.

The military spokesman accused the rebel group of destroying Lumumba Bridge in Yei River State. He stressed that the army was ready to dislodge NAS rebels from their strongholds.” We are ready to fight Thomas Cirillo wherever he is with his forces,” he said.

Soba Samuel, a spokesman of the NAS faction, denied government reports that their forces had launched attacks.

Instead, he accused the government forces of attacking their defensive positions in Yei and Lobonok areas over the weekend. The opposition official called on the international community to investigate government attacks.

 

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