Monday, April 21, 2014

SPLA-rebels kill hundreds in South Sudanese city of Bentiu

Oil installations in Bentiu. Bentiu is the capital of Unity State and the main oil producing city in South Sudan. (Photo AFP).  

Hundreds of people were killed because of their ethnic group after South Sudan rebels of the SPLA of Riek Machar seized the oil hub of Bentiu last week, the UN has said. The opposition troops targeted a mosque, a church and a hospital, the UN Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss) said in a statement. It added that hate speech was broadcast on local radio stations, saying certain groups should leave the town and urging men to rape women.
Non-Nuer South Sudanese and foreign nationals were singled out and killed, Unmiss said.
Some 200 civilians were reportedly killed at the Kali-Ballee mosque where they had sought shelter.
At the hospital, Nuer men, women and children, who hid rather than cheer the rebel forces as they entered the town, were also killed, it said.Many of those killed are understood to be Sudanese traders, especially from Darfur.
Riek Machar himself is a Nuer and is mainly supported by ethnic Nuer, while the president, Salva Kiir, is a member of the Dinka, the largest ethnic group in the country.
A new bout of fighting in South Sudan's oil-producing Unity state will delay the resumption of output in the region, a senior oil South Sudanese ministry official said on Thursday. When Machar's troops recaptured Bentiu, the Juba government was trying to get the oil flows back after stoppages in December when fighting erupted.
The latest fighting shattered several weeks of calm in Unity after warring parties signed a ceasefire in January to end the conflict, which was triggered by a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar. The oil ministry official who did not wish to be named said the rebels damaged a refinery in Tharjath, injuring three Russian oil workers at the facility.
The country, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, produced 260,000 barrels a day before the outbreak of the conflict in December.

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