South Sudanese army arrest three soldiers for mass rape

Huang Panyue

JUBA, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The South Sudan Army (SPLA) have arrested three of its troops they suspect having been carrying out mass rape of women and girls in a village some 50 kilometers southeast of the capital Juba in February.

Public outcry erupted last month after it emerged that South Sudanese troops entered Kubi village and raped at least six women and girls.

Military Spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said Friday the SPLA leadership ordered an investigation into allegations of mass rape by the government troops and concluded by arresting three junior officers.

"SPLA is happy to announce the arrest of three SPLA soldiers suspected of involvement in the commission of crimes against civilians at Kubi village last month. The suspects would be subjected to legal processes according to SPLA act 2009. If they are found guilty, they would be held accountable for their actions," Koang said.

The accusations surfaced less than two weeks after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said that soldiers who commit acts of rape and sexual assault against civilians will be executed.

The SPLA also denied accusations by the opposition troops that government troops killed some 60 people in northern South Sudan last week.

A UN report released in March 2016 accused both sides in South Sudan for committing atrocities such as torture, murder and rape against the civilian population.

South Sudan has been devastated by civil war that broke out in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the accusation but then mobilized a rebel force.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 led to the formation of a transitional unity government in April last year, but was again devastated by fresh violence in July.

Tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been killed, with over 2 million displaced and another 4.6 million left severely food insecure, since December 2013.




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