South Sudan : UN asks warring parties to free 900 abducted civilians

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. Photo : Reuters

NEWSROOM (ADV) – The United Nations on Thursday called on South Sudan’s warring parties to release 900 civilians who were abducted between April and August.

A joint report by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Human Rights Office says abducted young men and boys were forced to be fighters or used as porters when fighting spiked in April in Western Equatoria region after months of relative calm.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a report that women and young girls who were abducted by opposition forces were paraded and lined up for commanders to choose as “wives.”

“Most of the abducted civilians are, as far as we know, still being held captive,” Bachelet said in a statement issued in Juba.

She called on the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in-Opposition (SPLA-IO )to immediately release the civilians, particularly children who are as young as 12.

According to the UN report, the rebel forces intensified attacks against villagers and targeted civilians following several months of relative calm in April, forcing 24,000 people to flee their homes.

It also said several civilians were injured when government forces of Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) launched offensives to remove SPLA-IO forces, as these operations failed to distinguish between civilians and combatants.

The report documented SPLA-IO attacks on at least 28 villages, a settlement of internally displaced persons and a refugee camp, in Gbudue and Tambura.

© Bur-csa – N.A / A.H – African Daily Voice (ADV)