South Sudanese army to investigate village "rape"
February 16, 2017 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army has vowed to investigate reports of rape, which allegedly occurred in villages along Juba-Nimule road last week.
- South Sudanese SPLA soldiers are pictured in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
Anglican Bishop Paul Yugusuk of the Lomega Diocese in Eastern Equatoria claimed that pro-government soldiers raped several women and detained 47 men over the weekend.
Five young girls and women, the Bishop said, are being treated at Juba hospital.
“We don’t know the exact number of women who were raped but we have five [women and girls] here in Juba Teaching Hospital. Most of them are underage girls and women,” Yugusuk told reporters after visiting the victims in Juba on Monday.
The 47 men arrested after the ransacking of the Kubi village, some 50 km on Juba – Nimule highway, have been released, according to local news report that quoting George Ladu, the Commissioner of Lokiliri County in Jubek State.
But the South Sudanese army spokesman Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said the military will form a committee to investigate the report, identify the suspects and take action.
“The chief of general staff has ordered an investigation into the circumstances that led to the reported rape incidents in Kubi, identify the suspects and arraign them before the military court,” Koang told Sudan Tribune over phone on Thursday.
The military official further said all church groups and any other “interested” parties are invited to help in the investigation to dispel any fears of bias during the process.
The SPLA, despite promises to take measures, has been accused by advocate groups of doing little to end sexual assaults on women and girls during military operations.
In the past, however, human right organizations have accused both the government forces of carrying out atrocities, including gang rape and mass killing of innocent civilians when taking over a territory held by rebels.