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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/23/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Civilians killed on account of their ethnicity, investigators say

The targeted killing of hundreds of civilians in South Sudan's Unity state has been denounced as an "abomination" by the United States. The White House appealed to opposition forces and government leaders to condemn those responsible and bring them to justice. The death toll from the deadly sectarian violence in the world's newest nation has since surpassed 400 men, women and children.

Fighting continues unabated between troops loyal to President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and forces tied to Machar, an ethnic Nuer and the country's former vice president.

Fighting continues unabated between troops loyal to President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and forces tied to Machar, an ethnic Nuer and the country's former vice president.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/23/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: South Sudan, Unity state, massacre, United Nations


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - South Sudan's Minister of Information Michael Makuei says that the killings took place in Unity state and in the city of Bentiu. The massacre was carried out by fighters who arose after President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of an attempted coup last year.

Hundreds of civilians were killed due to their ethnicity after opposition forces seized the town last week. The U.N. Mission in South Sudan condemned what it called "the targeted killings of civilians based on their ethnic origins and nationality."

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The U.S. and the Obama administration was unequivocal in its condemnation of the violence. Thousands of people have been killed in violence since last December; more than one million people have been forced to leave their homes.

"We are horrified by reports out of South Sudan that fighters aligned with Machar massacred hundreds of innocent civilians last week in Bentiu," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a news release.

"Images and accounts of the attacks shock the conscience: stacks of bodies found dead inside a mosque, patients murdered at a hospital, and dozens more shot and killed in the streets and at a church - apparently due to their ethnicity and nationality - while hate speech was broadcast on local radio," Carney said.

Fighting continues unabated between troops loyal to President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and forces tied to Machar, an ethnic Nuer and the country's former vice president.

Machar denies that his men had carried out the attack and blamed forces loyal to Kiir.

"I contacted the field military commander in Bentiu who told me that such accusation is false. First of all we respect our people, and the majority of the forces are from the region and we can't kill our citizens," Machar said this week.

People "associated with the opposition" had used an FM radio station to broadcast hate speech in the town.

"With hate speech and violence continuing as they are, we're going to have an even greater catastrophe on our hands at the end of this year," Toby Lanzer, the U.N.'s representative in South Sudan, said. "I think the saddest testament to the current situation is that we have had members of all communities, even those accused of perpetrating these crimes, fleeing to the U.N. base."

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