South Sudan’s army has detained some 130 civilians without charges in a central state since February, beating some of them severely, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
Rights groups accuse South Sudan’s army and security forces, a loose umbrella of former guerillas from decades of civil war with Khartoum, of committing abuses.
HRW said the governor of Lakes state had ordered the army in February to detain 50 people each from two villages which had been locked in tribal fighting, Reuters reports.
“Soldiers rounded up dozens of young men, often detaining others if they couldn’t find the suspects they were seeking, and held them in harsh conditions for weeks or months,” HRW said, citing witnesses. “At least some were severely beaten.”
The government, which could not be immediately reached for comment, regularly denies charges of human rights abuses.
Authorities have struggled to set up functioning state institutions since winning independence from Sudan in 2011 under a peace deal ending one of Africa’s longest civil wars.