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2014 Bentiu massacre

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2014 Bentiu massacre

The 2014 Bentiu massacre occurred on 15 April 2014 in the town of Bentiu, in the north of South Sudan, during the South Sudanese conflict (2013–14). The attack has been described by The Economist as the "worst massacre" of the ongoing civil war.[1]

Prelude

Prior to the attack, people had sought refuge in places of worship and healing,[2] while a local radio station featured rebel commanders warning certain ethnic groups, except the Nuers, that they were coming for them, calling on the other groups to rape the non-Nuer women.[3]

Attack

UN human rights investigators said that after rebels wrested Bentiu from government forces in heavy battles, the gunmen spent two days hunting down those who they believed opposed them.[4] The killers, identified by the United Nations as forces of the Nuer-led “Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition Army”, went from place to place, from mosque to church to hospital, separating people by ethnicity and religion and shooting the ones left behind.[5] Civilians were killed in the town's main hospital, in a Catholic church and especially in the Kali-Ballee mosque,[6] where hundreds had taken shelter and where the rebels "separated individuals of certain nationalities and ethnic groups and escorted them to safety, while the others were killed," according to a UN report.[7]

A week after the attack, bodies still littered the streets.[8]

Casualties

South Sudan’s government said the death toll from the massacre exceeded 400.[9] In the main mosque alone, "more than 200 civilians were reportedly killed and over 400 wounded," the UN mission in the country said.[10][11]

According to a source, many of the victims were Sudanese, in particular traders from Darfur as well as soldiers from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Sudanese rebel group from Darfur accused of supporting the South Sudanese government. According to the source, JEM fighters removed their uniforms and hid in the mosque, before being shot. However, a Sudanese human rights group rejected this claim, saying those killed were unarmed civilians.[12]

Aftermath

Rebel leader, Riek Machar, said his forces were not behind the killings[13] and rebel spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said, "[t]he government forces and their allies committed these heinous crimes while retreating."[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ South Sudan, economist.com.
  2. ^ An ‘abomination’: Slaughter in the mosques and churches of Bentiu, South Sudan, washingtonpost.com.
  3. ^ An ‘abomination’: Slaughter in the mosques and churches of Bentiu, South Sudan, washingtonpost.com.
  4. ^ S.Sudan rebels slaughter 'hundreds' in ethnic massacres: UN, news.yahoo.com.
  5. ^ An ‘abomination’: Slaughter in the mosques and churches of Bentiu, South Sudan, washingtonpost.com.
  6. ^ South Sudan: Bentiu atrocity will not be the last unless pleas for help are heard, theguardian.com.
  7. ^ S.Sudan rebels slaughter 'hundreds' in ethnic massacres: UN, news.yahoo.com.
  8. ^ South Sudan: Bentiu atrocity will not be the last unless pleas for help are heard, theguardian.com.
  9. ^ SOUTH SUDAN SAYS MASSACRE TOLL UP TO 400, america.aljazeera.com.
  10. ^ S.Sudan rebels slaughter 'hundreds' in ethnic massacres: UN, news.yahoo.com.
  11. ^ An ‘abomination’: Slaughter in the mosques and churches of Bentiu, South Sudan, washingtonpost.com.
  12. ^ South Sudan: Bentiu atrocity will not be the last unless pleas for help are heard, theguardian.com.
  13. ^ S Sudan rebel leader rejects massacre claims, aljazeera.com.
  14. ^ South Sudan sacks army chief over Bentiu, sbs.com.au.

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