Source: Sudan Tribune
Forced displacement of civilians is becoming strategy by South Sudan army to weaken rebels in the nation’s ongoing conflict, the United Nations said.
“From the middle of 2015, a new pattern emerged, with entire villages being burned down, food crops destroyed and livestock looted,” the UN mission in South Sudan and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a report issued Thursday.
“There are indications that this may have been a deliberate strategy by the government or [the army] aimed at depriving civilians of any source of livelihood with a view to forcing their displacement,” said the report.
According to the UN, displacement of civilians aimed at creating a vaccum in Unity state in order to deprive the rebels of any eventual support from the population.
The government denied the allegations, saying that “there is no government policy to kill, displace or destroy [the] livelihood of civilians.”
A total of 113 000 refugees have arrived in Uganda since a power struggle between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president Riek Machar, turned violent in December 2013, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
The conflict has left tens of thousands dead and displaced 2.3 million people. About 650 000 of the displaced have crossed into neighbouring countries, UNHCR said.
A peace agreement was signed in August and the government and rebels have agreed on the formation of a transitional unity government amidsf repoorted to have continued.