Soldiers Commit Gang-Rapes in South Sudan Capital, Monitor Says

(Bloomberg) -- Men in army uniforms sexually assaulted more than 150 women and children around South Sudan’s capital last year, in some cases mutilating the victims, a group monitoring the four-year civil war said.

There’s “clear evidence” that such violence by government soldiers and security personnel is prevalent in the capital, Juba, and surrounding central Equatoria region, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism said in a report dated Monday. It identified 154 reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence between February and December and said many others go unrecorded.

South Sudanese army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said by phone he wasn’t aware of the number of reported assaults. He said two such cases had been brought to the military’s attention and were successfully prosecuted.

The conflict that erupted in the East African nation in December 2013 has claimed tens of thousands of lives and been marked by frequent reports of atrocities including sexual violence. Several victims recounted gang-rapes by two or three soldiers who broke into houses in the early morning, according to the monitoring group that was set up in 2015 by an East Africa bloc trying to mediate a peace deal.

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