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South Sudan conflict: more than 70 dead in inter-ethnic violence


At least 72 people have been killed in seven weeks, some beheaded or burned to death, in South Sudan’s Unity state, where inter-ethnic violence has escalated, the UN mission said on Monday. in this country (Unmiss).

The massacres took place between February 17 and April 7 in Leer County, and included sexual violence, says Unmiss.

In total, “72 civilians were killed (and) at least 11 were injured,” the mission said in a statement.

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Whole days hidden in swamps

“The Unmiss strongly condemns the widespread sexual violence, the murders including beheadings, the burning of civilians alive and the attacks against humanitarian workers,” she adds.

On sexual violence, Unmiss director Nicholas Haysom said: “We must do everything we can to ensure that victims … have the access to justice they deserve and receive the care and the support they need.

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In April, terrified villagers said they spent days hiding in swamps in Leer County as gunmen set fire to their homes and stole their livestock.

Peace agreement in 2018

The resurgence of violence in South Sudan raises fears of a return to conflict in this fragile East African country, which plunged in 2013, only two years after its independence, into five years of civil war which left nearly 400,000 dead and millions displaced.

The war officially ended in September 2018 with a peace agreement enacting a principle of power sharing. But this agreement remains largely unimplemented more than two years after the formation of a government of national unity, bringing together President Salva Kiir and his sworn enemy Riek Machar, now vice-president.

The country is plagued by violence, hunger and an economic crisis marked by galloping inflation. Nearly nine million people, out of a total of more than 11 million, will need international aid this year due to a deep food crisis but also to renewed violence, according to the UN.



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