February 14, 2017 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese Anglican Bishop has accused government soldiers of allegedly raping women and young girls as well as detaining men in a village along Juba-Nimule highway, which has lately experienced series of attacks on travelers.
- South Sudanese SPLA soldiers are pictured in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
Bishop Paul Yugusuk of Lomega Diocese in Eastern Equatoria said soldiers carried out massive sexual assaults on women in Kubi village, about 50 km on Juba-Nimule road.
“We don’t know the exact number of women who were raped but we have five [women and girls] here in Juba Teaching Hospital. Most of them are underage girls and women,” Yugusuk told reporters after visiting the victims in Juba on Monday.
According to the cleric, testimonies given by the victims pinned government soldiers stationed in Nesitu, a military outpost south of Juba that provides protection for vehicles traveling from Juba to Nimule, a South Sudanese town bordering Uganda.
“46 young men have been arrested and tortured. 42 [of the men] have been released but four are still missing. We don’t know their whereabouts,” he said.
Bishop Yugusuk said the village was also looted and the entire population had fled.
“There are only fifteen elderly people left there right now,” he added.
The South Sudanese military (SPLA) spokesman Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, however, declined to comment on allegations blamed on pro-government soldiers.
“We just heard the allegation and we are still trying to get the truth from field commanders,” Koang told Sudan Tribune by phone on Tuesday.
There have been attacks on passenger vehicles on the Juba-Nimule highway in recent weeks, which have been blamed on the armed opposition faction loyal to South Sudan’s former first vice president Riek Machar.
The SPLA have started escorting all vehicles on the 192km road leading to Uganda.