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Community-based militias accounted for 78% of violence in South Sudan, says UNMISS

March 31, 2021 (JUBA) – 78 per cent of killings, injuries, abductions and other forms of violence were committed by community-based militias in South Sudan last year, the United Nations mission in the country (UNMISS) said.

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David Shearer UNMISS head briefs the Security Council on 26 September 2017 (UN photo)

The shocking revelations are contained in an “Annual Brief on Violence Affecting Civilians” released by Human Rights Division of UNMISS, which documented killing of 2,421 civilians.

Over 1,500 people, the report noted, were injured last year, up from 866 in 2019.

“Many of the victims of violence were killed or injured during a wave of attacks by armed community-based militias across Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, as well as in Warrap and Lakes,” partly read the UNMISS report released on Wednesday.

“In some cases, these groups were supported by local and national elites driven by political and economic interests,” it added.

According to the report, most of the clashes in the country were concentrated in 13 per cent of the country’s 540 administrative areas and largely involved community-based militias rather than conventional parties to the conflict.

Also cited in the report was the rise in cases of abductions, with majority of victims being children stolen from their families during militia-led raids.

Last year, UNMISS deployed peacekeepers to the affected areas ahead of the dry season when conflict traditionally erupts due to tensions between communities over scarce resources.

The UN Security Council has already extended the mandate of UNMISS until March 15, 2022.

(ST)