Press briefing notes on South Sudan

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Location: Geneva
Date: 09 April 2013

1) South Sudan

A UN report, published last Friday, shows that at least 85 people were killed in an attack on a group of pastoralists that occurred near Walgak, in Jonglei State, on 8 February 2013, the majority of whom were women and children.

The human rights investigation, which was carried out on the ground by UNMISS between February 11 and March 1, was able to verify that at least 85 people were killed and to confirm the identities of 69 of them. Some 37 people were also injured and 34 reported missing in the most deadly attack in Jonglei State since the beginning of the 2013 dry season.

A group of armed men, allegedly members of the Murle community, attacked the Lou Nuer pastoralists as they were migrating to grazing areas. A unit of about 40 SPLA soldiers had been deployed to protect the pastoralists but they were insufficient in number and were overwhelmed, suffering casualties.

We call on the South Sudanese authorities to immediately launch an investigation into this gruesome attack and bring the perpetrators to justice in order to end the cycle of violence and prevailing impunity.

While acknowledging the efforts made by the Government to deploy a larger SPLA presence in the area, we also call on the authorities to further strengthen its efforts to protect civilians and to address the deeply rooted and complex causes of inter-communal violence, including the widespread availability of weapons and lack of development. We also call on all communities to exercise restraint and to end senseless violence.

ENDS

*The full report can be found here:http://unmiss.unmissions.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=4BAr3GgtyY4%3d&tabid=5434&language=en-US
For more information or media requests, please contact Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 93 10 / cpouilly@ohchr.org)

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