South Sudanese rebel factions on Tuesday called on the international community to investigate what they term as targeted killings along ethnic lines nearing genocide in the war-torn country.
The SPLA-in opposition (SPLA-IO), Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – Former Detainees (FDs), National Democratic Movement (NDM), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) and National Salvation Front (NAS) said in a joint statement that genocide was being orchestrated by the government as the region and international community kept quiet.
“We urge the region and the international community to urgently investigate, document, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of recent genocide in Wanduruba, Yei, Lainya, Pajok and Kajokeji in Equatoria, Wau in Bahr el-Ghazal, and in all of Upper Nile before appropriate courts or tribunals,” they said.
“As this murderous campaign unfolds, the region and the broader international community, for the most part, has stood by, excused the aggressor and justified the inaction of the world on the intransigence of the perpetrator,” they added.
The rebels also said the tribal killings underway were reminiscent of the December 2013 fighting that resulted into the killings of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic people, to which former Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir belong respectively.
However, President Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny has denied SPLA troops were orchestrating killings along tribal lines. He added the government can not commit genocide against its people.
“The government cannot commit, implement genocide against South Sudanese. The state apparatus can not be used against a particular tribe,” he said.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013, as political disputes between President Kiir and his former deputy Machar caused fighting to spread along ethnic lines.
The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions of others from their homes, according to the UN.
Both the SPLA and militia groups fighting in Yei, Kajokeji areas of Equatoria region, have been accused of carrying out ethnic targeted killings on civilians, hence forcing thousands to flee violence.