A lack of accountability for crimes perpetrated during the ongoing conflict in South Sudan remains one of the “biggest challenges,” the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) said.
Eugene Nindorera, the Human Rights Director for UNMISS, stated this as he wrapped up a visit to the north-western Wau region, according to an UNMISS statement.
The UNMISS official challenged South Sudanese authorities to bringing the perpetrators of violence against civilians to book.
Nindorera said violence in April led to the death of 19 Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers and at least 28 civilians.
The UNMISS official pointed out the killing of civilians in Wau town followed the ambush and killing of the SPLA soldiers by suspected SPLA-In Opposition fighters.
He said the Human Rights Division of UNMISS had interviewed 43 individuals, including eight women and two children, to collect information about alleged human rights violations perpetrated by government forces and aligned armed groups in Wau town on April 10.
“I can confirm that, as of Sunday, nobody is being detained in connection with this attack against civilians.
“I talked to victims and witnesses and was shaken to hear their testimonies of how they had to flee their houses after being attacked.
“It’s more important than ever before that people are held accountable for the crimes they have committed,” Nindorera said.
He further confirmed after meeting the Governor of Wau state, Andrea Acho, that the governor had established a committee to produce a comprehensive report to determine the motive for the attacks and identify the perpetrators in order to hold them accountable.
“I welcome this move and I encourage Governor Andrea Acho to exert his authority to ensure that people are held responsible for the crimes they have committed,” Nindorera said.
Meanwhile, UNMISS has confirmed that the protection of civilians site adjacent to the UNMISS base in Wau had registered some 17,000 new arrivals, mainly women and children.
“The influx of newly displaced people has led to over-crowding and pressure on humanitarian services,” the UNMISS said.