125 women, girls raped in S. Su­dan

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - News - BY SAM MEDNICK

One hun­dred and twenty-five women and girls have been raped, whipped and clubbed in at­tacks so shock­ing that some aid work­ers in South Su­dan say they are left speech­less.

Doc­tors Without Bor­ders on Satur­day said the “dra­matic in­crease” in sex­ual vi­o­lence oc­curred over 10 days, be­tween Nov. 19 and Thurs­day, as the women and girls walked to a food dis­tri­bu­tion site in Ben­tiu in Unity state. By con­trast, the med­i­cal char­ity’s Ben­tiu clinic treated 104 sur­vivors of sex­ual as­sault in the first 10 months of this year.

Sex­ual vi­o­lence has been wide­spread in South Su­dan’s civil war, and even un­der a re­cent peace deal hu­man­i­tar­i­ans have warned of higher rates of sex­ual as­sault as grow­ing num­bers of des­per­ate peo­ple try to reach aid.

A mid­wife with Doc­tors Without Bor­ders who treated some of the sur­vivors said those tar­geted in­clude preg­nant and el­derly women and girls as young as 10.

“What is hap­pen­ing since last week is in­de­scrib­able. I haven’t got words for it,” Ruth Okello told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The women were robbed of cloth­ing and shoes, and even their ra­tion cards for food dis­tri­bu­tion were seized and de­stroyed, the aid group said.

The United Na­tions mis­sion chief, David Shearer, said the “ab­hor­rent” at­tacks were car­ried out by young men in mil­i­tary uni­forms and civil­ian cloth­ing. The U.N. has in­creased pa­trols in the area and launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion while urg­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to hold the at­tack­ers ac­count­able.

South Su­dan’s govern­ment was not im­me­di­ately avail­able to com­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.