Mary, 30 years old, was gang raped by four government soldiers in front of her children. After recovering, she fled with her children and was again gang raped by another group of soldiers, while the men and children in the group were made to watch. – Source
In August 2016, 10 girls fleeing to a UN civilian-protection site in Bentiu in Unity State “were stopped on the way there by some 20 SPLA soldiers and taken into the bush and raped repeatedly,” – Source
In one area alone, over the course of ten days 125 women and girls sought treatment from Doctors Withough Borders after having been sexually assaulted.
These victims were raped, robbed, and beaten as they walked along roads near Nhialdu and Guit on their way to a town near the Sudanese border. Women are forced to make the 20+ mile trek to reach the nearest United Nations food distribution centers. Source
One South Sudanese man returned home after hiding from government soldiers to find they had blinded his mother, gouging out her eyes with spears. She had tried to defend her 17-year-old daughter from being raped by more than a dozen soldiers and didn’t succeed. Seventeen soldiers then raped her. The family’s father was beheaded. Source
These are just a few of the stories coming out of South Sudan as part of several reports documenting the situation there.
In our article entitled Why The Birth Of South Sudan Was 5,000 Years In The Making , we told the story of how the nation was born out of resistance to Arab supremacy. Having won the fight for it’s independence, South Sudan spiraled into civil war in late 2013.
Since then, more than 400,000 people have been killed. More than two million people have fled the country, the largest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide 24 years ago. Millions who remain at home face hunger.
Today, rapes, robberies, and the recruiting of child soldiers are all perpetrated by what should be the highest moral authority in the land: the government itself.
According to a recent United Nations Report, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is said to have carried out nearly 80 percent of the 987 killings or maiming of children documented by the UN between October 2014 and June 2018.
The SPLA was also responsible for more than 90 percent of 658 verified incidents of sexual violence against children during that period. Most of these cases involved “gruesome gang rapes,” the UN envoy said.
All this is happening under the leadership of current President Salva Kiir, whose Presidential Guard was included in a lawsuit against the government for sexual violence on behalf of 30 women and girls who were allegedly raped by its members.
Antonia Mulvey, director of Legal Action Worldwide, a nonprofit network of human rights lawyers, said the South Sudan army committed “brutal” sexual violence, including sexual slavery, sexual torture, rape and gang rape against women and girls. Many survivors described how government-aligned soldiers laughed, mocked and spat on them.
Mulvey says the complaint was lodged Thursday in Geneva at the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
In response to the claim, Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the LAW group wants to destabilize South Sudan.
“I think this group has a hidden agenda, given that the whole world is talking about this [September 12] peace agreement signed in Khartoum and Addis Ababa. There is a positive talk about the implementation of the peace agreement and this group (LAW) wants to put South Sudan back to polarization.”
Mulvey wasn’t surprised by the government’s reaction.
“The standard response, particularly to [accusations] of sexual violence, is to deny that it occurred in the first place,” Mulvey said.
Child soldiers are also being recruited and deployed under the command of the nation’s current and former Vice Presidents, including Taban Deng Gai and Riek Machar.
As members of President Salva Kiir’s administration, these men allegedly deployed their child soldiers to use sexual violence as a form of collective punishment to instill fear and humiliation within communities.
The UN counted 1,447 children, including five girls, among forces loyal to rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar. Groups associated with Taban Deng Gai recruited and fielded 801 children, including 46 girls, says the report.The SPLA accounted for more than 40 percent of the total number of 5,723 child soldiers reported to be in the ranks of armed groups.
According to first hand accounts from child soldiers, the SPLA paid recruits between 700 and 1,500 South Sudanese pounds per month (between $5 USD and $12 USD).
“Children were used to commit atrocities against civilians, including other children,” the report notes.