UN report uncovers horrific war crimes in Sudan
Published 29/10/2015 | 02:30
African Union investigators have discovered mass graves in South Sudan and found evidence of horrific crimes, including forced cannibalism, according to a long-awaited report.
President Salva Kiir's faction in the conflict is also accused of recruiting an irregular tribal force before the outbreak of war in December 2013.
The report also disputes that there was a coup attempt in December 2013 by the former vice-president Riek Machar. Government troops carried out organised killings of members of the ethnic Nuer in Juba, the capital, the report said.
When violence broke out, Machar, a Nuer, became a rebel leader. He and Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, recently signed a peace agreement.
The African Union investigators found that the conflict began on December 15, 2013 as a skirmish broke out between Dinka and Nuer soldiers of the presidential guard.
This followed tension between Kiir and Machar, who had been fired as Kiir's deputy the previous July.
Hundreds of Nuer men were rounded up and shot and mass graves were discovered.
Perpetrators - described as government forces or their allies - allegedly tortured their victims, including by forcing them to jump in fires or eat human flesh, according to the report.
The killings were "an organised military operation that could not have been successful without concerted efforts from various actors in the military and government circles," the report said.
"Roadblocks or checkpoints were established all around Juba and house-to-house searches were undertaken by security forces.," it found.
"During this operation male Nuers were targeted, identified, killed on the spot or gathered in one place and killed."
Amid the Juba killings, Machar fled the capital and mobilized an insurgency which committed revenge attacks against the Dinka, sparking a cycle of violence in Bor, Malakal, and Bentiu towns.
Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement in August but the fighting continues.