UN peacekeepers looked on as women were raped in camps by South Sudanese soldiers, witnesses say

 “The woman was seriously screaming, quarreling and crying also, but there was no help” 

Sadie Levy Gale
Thursday 28 July 2016 18:55
Comments
Families wait after they have find shelter in Saint Joseph's church compound in Juba earlier this month
Families wait after they have find shelter in Saint Joseph's church compound in Juba earlier this month

Dozens of women and girls were raped by South Sudanese government soldiers near a United Nations' compound in the country’s capital Juba, with at least one assault occurring as peacekeepers watched, according to witnesses.

Civilian leaders reported that at least two women had died from their injuries.

Two armed soldiers dragged a woman away who was less than a few hundred metres from the UN camp’s western gate, according to the Associated Press.

A bystander estimated that 30 peacekeepers saw the incident.

'They were seeing it. Everyone was seeing it,” the witness told AP. “The woman was seriously screaming, quarreling and crying also, but there was no help.”

A United Nations peacekeeper keeps guard outside the Bor camp for the internally displaced in Bor town Jonglei state, South Sudan

Shantal Persaud, a spokesperson for the UN Mission in South Sudan, said: "The mission takes very seriously allegations of peacekeepers not rendering aid to civilians in distress and the UNMISS force command is looking into these allegations in line with its established protocols."

The reported assaults took place a week after rival government forces clashed in Juba, killing hundreds of people and forcing opposition leader Riek Machar out of the city.

Approximately 30,000 civilians have taken shelter from the fighting in the UN base.

The assaults highlighted the problem of widespread sexual violence against ethnic Nuer women and girls.

Almost all of the civilians staying at the camp are ethnic Nuer, as is Mr Machar.

They fear attacks from ethnic Dinka soldiers, who are loyal to Mr Machar's rival, President Salva Kiir.

Soldiers were allowing women from the camps to leave and search for food nearby before attacking them when they returned, according to the witnesses.

Several women spoke to the Associated Press about the attacks.

"When we reached checkpoint, the soldiers come out and called the women and said, 'Stop, please, and sit down', so we stopped and sat down, and they took one woman inside a shop," one woman reported.

“Four men went inside the shop and they raped the woman while we three stayed outside.”

Ms Persaud said peacekeeping forces were providing “protection at designated times to women when needing to go out ... to collect firewood and procure other non-food items.”

She added: "The UN mission has stepped up its patrols in and around the [Protection of Civilians] sites, as well as in Juba city."

There were 1,300 reports of rape in just one of South Sudan’s 10 states over the course of five months in 2015, according to a UN report released in March.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in