South Sudan:60 suffocated to death in a container, reports say
There wasn't just sexual violence. The U.N. report also documented stories of civilians being hanged from trees, cut to pieces and burned alive.
In a report also recently chronicled by Amnesty International, 60 cattlekeepers were taken by South Sudanese soldiers who confiscated their livestock, tied them up, then locked them in a steel container with no windows.
Amnesty reported finding broken skeletons at a mass grave where those killed in the container were allegedly buried.
That container was brought to a former Catholic Church compound in the town of Leer, where South Sudanese troops guarded it. "According to credible information," the U.N. report states, "all men died within one or two days of being detained, with the exception of one survivor."
South Sudan's government takes "anything like this very seriously," a spokesman said of this allegation, before insisting that "our forces did not commit any human rights violations."
"There are a number of bandits and lone militia forces that are active in that area," government spokesman Ateny Wek said. "Our forces do not kill civilians.
"Occasionally there may be accidental deaths as a result of crossfire, but the South Sudanese army is not responsible for this heinous crime. We intend to investigate who is responsible and bring them to justice."