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South Sudan Soldiers Suffocate Victims to Death


Worst Humanitarian Crisis


South Sudan has experienced turmoil since December 2013 following the fall out of President Salva Kirr and his former Deputy Riech Machar. Since then the youngest state in the world has known no peace and the two factions went into active violence and many other opportunistic fighters joined in. The conflict has since been internationalized and the search for peace still continues. It is clear that violence is still going on in many parts of the country despite many ceasefire agreements. Of concern is the level of crimes and violence that have been witnessed in South Sudan. As we speak the country has the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.

UN Report on Violence


The U.N. report released just under a week ago notes serious violations of international humanitarian law, gross violations of international human rights law and human rights abuses as perpetrated by all parties to the conflict in South Sudan. These include attacks on innocent civilians, rape, arbitrary detentions and abductions, all of which may amount to war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. The report indicates that civilians were singled out on the basis of their ethnicity, and shot on the streets, in their homes, while seeking sanctuary in churches and hospitals, and in official and unofficial places of deprivation of liberty.

Sexual Violence


Rape remains one of the most rampant crimes prevalent of the ongoing militarism in the country. Indeed a lot more cases of rape go unreported. According to the UN report the actions of rape by the South Sudanese government, its military and its allies were particularly egregious last year. The UN documented more than 1,300 cases of rape in one of South Sudan's 10 states, Unity, between April and September (one month after the peace framework accord was reached). Witnesses said that some women were killed for resisting, others for simply looking into their rapist's eyes.

One woman recounted being stripped naked and raped by five soldiers along a road and in front of her children; then got raped in bushes by three more men; then to come back and find her children missing. Another recalled being tied to a tree after her husband was killed, then being forced to watch 10 soldiers rape her 15-year-old daughter. During Sudan People's Liberation Army's (SPLA's) attacks, the report added, using the acronyms for South Sudan's army, "women and girls were considered a commodity and were taken along with civilian property as the soldiers moved through the villages.


Suffocated to Death


There wasn't just sexual violence. The UN report also documented stories of civilians being hanged from trees, cut to pieces and burned alive. Amnesty International has also reported on the incident where 60 cattle-keepers were taken by South Sudanese soldiers who confiscated their livestock, tied them up, then locked them in a steel container with no windows.

The container was brought to a former Catholic Church compound in the town of Leer, where South Sudanese troops guarded it and all men died within one or two days of being detained, with the exception of one survivor.

Mukura Massacre


The story of suffocating people to death reminds me of what the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) did to some poor villagers in a place called Mukura in north-eastern Uganda where in 1989 they suffocated over 80 people in a train wagon. The people who were suffocated were poor villagers in an area that was perceived as rebellious against the Kampala administration even as President Yoweri Museveni sought to stem his authority and consolidate power following the 1986 military take over from led by him. The President has since casually apologized to the people of Mukura and commanded the UPDF to build a monument in a memory of those who were innocently killed through suffocation.


The incident at Mukura and the recent one in South Sudan have many similarities. Given the fact that the one in Mukura was executed by the UPDF and the fact that the UPDF have been supported the SLPA soldiers allied to President Kirr in South Sudan, I may be forgiven to imagine that the UPDF exported this nasty tactic to their counterparts in South Sudan. It also means that the tactic of suffocation to death is still being used to date and it is a cause for alarm. I mean Hitler used this tactic in the 40s, the UPDF used it in 1989 and the SPLA has used it in 2015? We must get worried enough. 
South Sudan Soldiers Suffocate Victims to Death South Sudan Soldiers Suffocate Victims to Death Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on March 18, 2016 Rating: 5

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