South Sudan Bentiu 'ethnic slaughter' condemned

South Sudan Bentiu ‘ethnic slaughter’ condemned

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Hundreds of people were killed because of their ethnic group after South Sudan rebels seized the oil hub of Bentiu last week, the UN has

said.
They were targeted at a mosque, a church and a hospital, the UN Mission in South Sudan said in a statement.
It added that hate speech was broadcast on local radio stations, saying certain groups should leave the town and urging men to rape
women.
The Nuer community are seen as supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar.
President Salva Kiir is a member of the country’s largest group, the Dinka.
Although both men have prominent supporters from various communities, there have been numerous reports of rebels killing ethnic Dinkas and
the army targeting Nuers since the conflict broke out in December 2013.
Since then, more than a million people have fled their homes in what was already among the world’s poorest nations.
South Sudan analyst James Copnall says that in a civil war marked by numerous human rights abuses, the reports from Bentiu are among the
most shocking.
Non-Nuer South Sudanese and foreign nationals were singled out and killed, Unmiss said.
Some 200 civilians were reportedly killed at the Kali-Ballee mosque where they had sought shelter.
At the hospital, Nuer men, women and children, who hid rather than cheer the rebel forces as they entered the town, were also killed, it
said.
The UN’s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, tweeted about “shocking scenes of atrocities” in Bantiu, saying
“bodies of people executed still lie in the streets”.
Many of those killed are understood to be Sudanese traders, especially from Darfur.
Analyst James Copnall says they were targeted because rebel groups in Darfur are alleged to back President Kiir against the rebels.
Bentiu, capital of the oil-rich Unity State, has changed hands several times during the conflict.
Control of the oilfields is crucial because South Sudan gets about 90% of its revenue from oil.
A ceasefire was signed in January but there has been a recent upsurge in fighting.
Last week, the UN said an attack on one of its bases in the central town of Bor in which at least 58 people were killed could constitute a
war crime.
Fighting broke out last year after Mr Kiir accused Mr Machar of plotting to stage a coup.
Mr Machar, who was sacked as vice-president last year, denied the charges but launched a rebellion.
The UN has about 8,500 peacekeepers in South Sudan, which became the world newest state after seceding from Sudan in 2011. – BBC News

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