SOUTH SUDAN’S CONFLICT DRIVE GIRLS TO SUICIDE
One in four adolescent girls in South Sudan has considered killing herself, a report by the children’s charity Plan International has said.
ONE IN FOUR adolescent girls in South Sudan has considered killing herself, traumatised by physical and sexual violence brought on by the country’s civil conflict, a report by the children’s charity Plan International has said.
The survey of 249 girls aged 10 to 19 across South Sudan said 25 per cent reported they had suicidal feelings in the past 12 months, largely due to the fear of being raped, beaten, kidnapped or killed.
Seventy-five per cent of girls said the conflict had negatively affected their state of mind, one-third had been injured in the violence, and 13 per cent had been abducted, plunging some into the depths of despair, said the report.
“These girls have endured some of the most horrendous hardships imaginable,” George Otim, Plan International’s country director in South Sudan, said in a statement.
“If we are to give them some hope for the future, we must see an end to the conflict in South Sudan. We need to tailor support around gender and age so that adolescent girls feel safe from violence and can continue with their education.”
South Sudan, which split from Sudan in 2011, is being ravaged by a civil war sparked by rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Dr Riek Machar.
The world’s youngest nation is now in its fifth year of conflict, and the violence has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
Protracted insecurity has also hampered food production and disrupted markets, leading to hyperinflation and sparking a food crisis.
Almost half of South Sudan’s population lacks reliable access to food, says the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
As a result, 4.5 million South Sudanese have fled their homes, almost 90 per cent of them women and children. Around 2.5 million people have taken refuge in Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, the DR Congo and the Central African Republic.
A further two million are displaced inside the country.
Refugees flee from South Sudan into Uganda’s Koboko District.