Rebel leader's hometown 'ravaged by South Sudanese troops'

Rebel leader's hometown 'ravaged by South Sudanese troops'
Allegations of government-led atrocities have emerged as the president of South Sudan travels to South Africa, where Riek Machar is currently based, for 'bilateral talks'.
2 min read
29 November, 2016
Government SPLA troops have been accused of numerous war crimes in recent years [AFP]

A rebel spokesperson in South Sudan has warned of war crimes committed by government troops in the homeland territory of rebel leader, Riek Machar.

James Yoach Bideng told the Sudan Tribune that Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) troops had killed "dozens of civilians" in the villages of Daplual and Male, in Unity State.

"For the past two days, pro-government troops have been mopping up the population there," said Bideng.

"It is very sad to hear civilians got killed, with their homes being burned and chopped down."

A local journalist at Bentiu FM also said that government forces had killed dozens of civilians in the Leer area.

The UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan was unable to confirm the reports but mentioned a rise in violence in the region.

"The UNMISS temporary operating base in Leer has reported clashes taking place in Dablual with allegedly looted property and burned homes," said Shantal Persaud, acting spokesperson for UNMISS.

The news comes as the head of UNMISS, Ellen Margrethe Loej, gave what is expected to be her final interview before she steps down at the end of the month.

"We have not yet finished our job, we don't have peace in South Sudan, we don't have prosperity in South Sudan," Loej said.

"I am extremely depressed that [South Sudan's] hopes and aspirations at the time of independence have not yet been fulfilled.

"The conflict that erupted in December 2013 continues to make many South Sudanese homeless, internally displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries."

South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, is currently on a visit to South Africa, reportedly for talks with President Zuma over the ongoing conflict that has displaced more than three million people.

Rebel leader Riek Machar is also currently in South Africa and is expected to travel to Juba in the coming weeks.