JUBA – An international rights organization is urging the government of South Sudan to thoroughly investigate the apparent extrajudicial killings of criminals by state government authorities in the country’s Warrap.
The Human Rights Watch released a report today accusing the government’s security forces of executing at least eight suspected criminals, including two children, as part of their anti-crime campaign in Warrap state.
The executions were allegedly carried out on the orders of Governor Aleu Ayieny Aleu.
Warrap state, in northern South Sudan, has perennially experienced violence linked to inter-communal and cattle raiding since the country’s independence in 2011.
During 2020, there was an escalation in crimes such as killings, sexual violence and abductions as political elites manipulated local rivalries.
President Salva Kiir appointed Governor Aleu in January with a mandate, among other things, to curb violence and crime.
Nyagoah Tut Pur, a South Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch, called on authorities to immediately halt and ensure justice for the unlawful killings which constitute serious violations of International Law State.
“If Governor Aleu authorized summary killings instead of legal proceedings against suspected criminals, he is abusing his power and undermining the rule of law,” the rights expert said.
“President Kiir should ensure credible and transparent investigations into these serious violations of the right to life bring those responsible to account, and ensure compensation for the victims’ families,” Tut said.
Between June 4 and June 25, 2021, Human Rights Watch interviewed eight witnesses and relatives of victims of state security forces’ violations in Warrap state, as well as seven lawyers, activists, and journalists with knowledge of the killings.
Interviews were conducted by telephone and secure messaging applications in English and, using an interpreter, in Thuuk Muonyjang (Dinka/Jieng dialect).
Human Rights Watch also reviewed reports by the United Nations, community groups, and the local media as well as videos posted on social media platforms.
Credible sources informed Human Rights Watch that, between April and June, on the governor’s orders, security forces executed at least 21 people accused of murder, theft, and other offenses, including in the towns of Kuajok, Romic, Alabek, Twic, Aliek, and Warrap.
Human Rights watch verified eight killings in Kuajok and Nyang Akoch. The UN Mission in South Sudan also documented executions of 29 males in the state, including boys and elderly men.