A woman and a girl were raped and shot by government soldiers in a village in South Sudan on Saturday, January 20th, according to a priest hailing from the area.
Rev. Wesley Natana of the Episcopal Diocese of Mundri says that soldiers stationed at Lui Secondary School went to Malakia village, “raped and wounded one woman and a young girl, shot the woman in the stomach, and the girl at the leg.”
He noted that the victims have been taken to a hospital for treatment.
Natana noted a number of additional alleged human rights violations that he says have been committed by the same troops since last year. “The presence of South Sudan Government Army at Lui Secondary School is causing more harm than good to Lui citizens. As a result of these continuous violations of human rights, Lui community elders are now appealing to President Salva Kiir, UN and IGAD to withdraw South Sudan government army from Lui and allow Lui area to be managed by the local chiefs and police,” added the church leader.
The priest’s story could not be independently confirmed because of government restrictions on press movements in South Sudan. However, this is not the first case of reported rapes in the county carried out by government troops. The Associated Press last year called Mundri an “epicentre” of a spate of rapes documented by multiple aid groups in late 2016.
According to an inter-agency report produced by these relief organizations, 29 rape cases were reported in Mundri in a four-month period alone, although the number was thought to be higher because of under-reporting. “Realistically, it’s more like over 50 cases,” said James Labadia, founder of a local women’s aid body, as quoted in the AP report of last year.
Compounding the difficulty of reporting on allegations of atrocities in Mundri is the fact that educated people from the area, including clergy, have been targeted and killed. At least two priests have been killed in government-controlled areas of Mundri, including Rev. Lino Apollo killed in July 2016 and Rev. Simon Tatawa Wilson killed in March 2017. Rev. Wesley, the source of the report on the latest alleged rapes, is based in a neighboring country.
Photo Credit: SPLA soldiers near Juba, April 2016 (VOA / Public Domain)