South Sudan dismisses ‘false’ UN statement implicating senior gov’t officials in ‘systemic’ rape
South Sudan government has dismissed a statement accusing senior government officials of overseeing systemic rape against civilians, claiming that the report was ‘fabricated’ by UN officials making living out of unfounded accounts.
JUBA – South Sudan government has dismissed a statement accusing senior government officials of overseeing systemic rape against civilians, claiming that the report was ‘fabricated’ by UN officials making living out of unfounded accounts.
In a statement on Monday, UN experts said South Sudan should investigate officials, including governors and county commissioners, accused of overseeing systematic gang rapes, some of whose victims were girls as young as nine.
United Nations investigators say sexual abuse has been used as a weapon by all sides in South Sudan’s civil conflict, which erupted in 2013 and triggered Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
In response, government spokesman and information minister Michael Makuei Lueth dismissed the report as baseless and claimed that UN investigators come to sit in hotels to make a living out of fabrication of false reports against the world’s youngest country.
“They come and sit in hotels here in Juba and fabricate these false reports on South Sudan to make a living … I am saying these are false reports fabricated against the government,” Makuei is quoted by Reuters as saying.
The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said it had reasonable grounds to believe a county commissioner in the northern oil-rich state of Unity orchestrated gang rapes at a military camp.
The documented abuses also involved beheadings, with rape victims being forced to carry the severed heads, victims being burnt alive, and days of brutal sexual assaults, the UN experts said in a statement.
“Conflict-related rape and sexual violence in Unity State has become so systematic and is a direct result of impunity,” said commission member Barney Afako.
Multiple witnesses said the Unity official planned and ordered the attacks, which were led by his deputy and followed strikingly similar patterns in different areas, according to the statement.
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