UN accuses community-based militia of raping women in Leer
The UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan has accused a community-based militia of sexually assaulting women and girls during the recent deadly fighting in Leer County and other parts of southern Unity State.
JUBA – The UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan has accused a community-based militia of sexually assaulting women and girls during the recent deadly fighting in Leer County and other parts of southern Unity State.
In April, deadly fighting broke out in Southern Unity State counties of Leer and Mayendit between forces loyal to the Mayendit County Commissioner and armed civilians.
At least 72 civilians were killed, including some who were burnt alive and decapitated, in northern Leer County, according to the UNMISS report.
Some 40,000 people were reportedly forced to flee their homes.
UN mission in South Sudan said in a statement on the occasion of the global observance of the 8th International Day on the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict South Sudan that conflict-related sexual violence continues to be one of the most traumatic features of the conflict in African’s youngest nation.
“Sexual violence continues to be perpetrated by parties to the conflict, with a steady increase in the number of incidents of conflict-related sexual violence perpetrated by community-based militia,” a statement issued on Sunday said.
It said that dozens of women reported being gang-raped.
“The recent record numbers of sexual violence, which has doubled compared with the same period last year, and the reports that emerged from Leer County in April, are extremely concerning,” it said.
“Women, men, and children continue to be at risk while facing pandemic-related restrictions, spiking violence, and reduced access to services and legal protections.”
The UN has condemned the spike in sexual violence against women and girls and urged the government to investigate the violence.
“Training initiatives for the armed forces, focused on the prevention and response to sexual violence, as well as command responsibility, have continued. A Joint Implementation Committee on conflict-related sexual violence was formally launched in November 2021.”
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