Amnesty International: South Sudan army burned civilians alive

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Amnesty International has accused South Sudan’s army of systematically killing and abusing civilians, detailing horrific human rights abuses in its latest report on military’s conduct during the country’s civil war.

According to the report, civilians were burned alive, hanged using trees and run over with armoured vehicles in opposition areas while children were swung against tree trunks and killed. The organisation also accuses the government of continuing to “give suspected perpetrators free rein to commit fresh atrocities”.

Civilians burned alive, children swung against trees

“While many civilians were killed by gun fire, others were burned alive in their homes, hung from trees and rafters, or run over with armored vehicles,” the Amnesty International report says.

“Civilians were also hunted down after fleeing into nearby wetlands, or rivers, as soldiers shot indiscriminately into areas where they were hiding and carried out attacks on islands where civilians had sought refuge.”

The report is based on the testimonies of 100 civilians who fled an offensive carried out by government troops and youth militias in Mayendit and Leer counties between 21 April and early July this year. Their accounts describe horrific methods of systematically killing civilians and sexually abusing women and young girls.

Children were also among the victims targeted by government soldiers, according to the report.

“Some children were shot while fleeing. Witnesses also described how soldiers killed young children between the ages of two and three by swinging them against trees. Other children drowned while hiding in the swamps during attacks.”

South Sudan’s leaders signed the final version of a peace deal earlier this month that should signal the end of its five-year civil war. However, reports of human right violations continue to emerge from the country and scepticism remains over the ability of the country’s elite to bring peace to the troubled nation.

Featured image: By USAID Africa Bureau – A young girl hangs the South Sudan flag, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21460264

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.