WASHINGTON – Violence in South Sudan against innocent civilians has increased in the first half of 2020, than it was in the whole year in 2019, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Stimson Center.
“Violence against civilians has seen a strong resurgence in 2020, according to UNMISS’s data. The targeting of civilians has been far higher in the first half of 2020 than in corresponding months in 2019,” the report said.
The Stimson Center, a US-based nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank which aims to enhance international peace and security through a combination of analysis and outreach said number of civilians harmed in 2020 has increased by over 100% against those harmed in 2019.
“……. more than 417 attacks against civilians reported, with a minimum of 1,620 civilians harmed,” it said adding that “This is a near quadrupling of civilians attacked from the same period in 2019, which reportedly saw 138 incidents and with 441 civilians harmed.”
The report also said there “was a significant spike in the number of organized violent events in South Sudan in the first half of 2020. ………the number of civilian fatalities in South Sudan has varied significantly from year to year since the outbreak of the civil war in South Sudan.”
It added that “In 2020, the majority of violence against civilians is attributable to intercommunal violence.”
The report further said ‘Community militias/self-defense groups’ were “primarily responsible for the significant rise in intercommunal violence. Attacks against civilians carried out by these armed groups appear to have some prior coordination and local buy-in.”
It said attacks in Jonglei and Greater Pibor in early 2020 had “approval of local religious leaders from the Lou Nuer and Murle communities to commit attacks, as well as individual participation from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO (RM)) and the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).”
“Violence against civilians by the conventional conflict parties has continued, though UNMISS reports a decrease from 23% in the first quarter of 2020 to 11% in the second quarter.
“From April to June 2020, the geographic focus of violence against civilians has been in Yei (Central Equatoria) and Mundri, Maridi, Mvolo and Tambura (Western Equatoria).
“This violence has resulted from fighting between government forces and sections of SPLA-IO (RM), as well as the government’s targeting of the National Salvation Front (NAS).”