UNITED NATIONS, AFP, NOV/06/2015, SSN;
Killings, rapes, burning of villages and abductions are continuing in South Sudan where the government and rebels are stockpiling weapons in violation of a peace deal, according to UN experts.
The panel of experts reported to the UN Security Council that both sides were violating the August peace deal while the humanitarian crisis was worsening, with 3.9 million people now threatened with famine.
In an update circulated to the council, the panel said “both the government and the opposition are actively expanding their stockpiles of arms and ammunition”, according to the document obtained by AFP on Wednesday.
They cited “numerous credible reports” that “killings, rapes, displacements, burning of villages, and abductions of women and children” are continuing in Unity state.
Over 50 cases of rape were reported in October.
The experts cited reports that “government forces shot into swamps at fleeing civilians, burned houses, and abducted women and children.”
Widespread cattle raiding continues, while a rebel militia led by warlord Johnson Olony “has engaged in the mass recruitment of child soldiers.”
“The end of the rainy season in the near future may portend a further escalation of violence in both Unity and Upper Nile states,” they warned.
Following a meeting on the crisis in South Sudan, British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the Security Council was ready to “take all appropriate measures” against those who are undermining the peace deal.
But a decision on imposing sanctions or an arms embargo will require more discussion at the council, he said, citing a “range of views” over what to do next.
Russia and some African countries have balked at calls for sanctions, arguing that more time is needed for the sides to come on board the peace deal.
“The overwhelming mood today was concern about the deteriorating situation,” said Rycroft, who holds the Security Council presidency this month.
The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan descended into bloodshed in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup.
The violence has reached appalling levels of brutality, with an African Union report recently documenting torture, cannibalism and other acts of “extreme cruelty” committed by both sides in the war. END