A lack of accountability for crimes perpetrated during ongoing conflict in South Sudan remains one of the country’s “biggest challenges,” the Human Rights Director for the United Nations Mission (UNMISS) said when he wrapped up a visit to the north-western Wau region last week.
Violence earlier in April led to the death of 19 Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers and at least 28 civilians, according to State officials. The killing of civilians in Wau town followed the ambush and killing of the SPLA soldiers by suspected SPLA-In Opposition fighters.
According to a news release, the Human Rights Division of UNMISS interviewed 43 people, 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 nobody is being detained in connection with this attack against civilians,” said Eugene Nindorera. “I spoke 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 people are held accountable for the crimes they have committed.”
He further confirmed after meeting the Governor of Wau state a committee had been established to produce a comprehensive report to determine the motive for the attacks and identify the perpetrators for them to be held accountable.
“I welcome this move and encourage Governor Andrea Mayar Acho to exert his authority to ensure people are held responsible for the crimes they have committed.” Nindorera said.
UNMISS confirmed the protection of civilians site adjacent to the UNMISS base in Wau registered some 17,000 new arrivals, mainly women and children, while around 5,000 people sought sanctuary inside the compound of the Wau Catholic Church. The influx of newly displaced people has led to overcrowding and pressure on humanitarian services.