Atrocities in Equatiria region turn country’s breadbasket into a killing field
Government and opposition forces in South Sudan’s Equatoria region, have committed war crimes and widespread and serious human rights abuses against civilians. Men, women and children have been shot, hacked to death with machetes and burned alive in their homes. Women and girls have been gang-raped, some after having been abducted. Homes, schools, medical facilities and humanitarian organizations’ compounds have been looted, vandalized and burned down. Such atrocities have already forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of the region’s inhabitants, and are continuing. Many of the displaced have fled the country and are now living as refugees in neighboring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Others are internally displaced within the region, living in fear of the ongoing violence and in dire humanitarian conditions. Both government and opposition forces have used food as a weapon of war, denying civilians access to food as a means to control their movement or force them out of their homes and off their land. As a result, in a region previously considered as South Sudan’s breadbasket, the remaining population faces acute food shortages and increasing malnutrition.