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More than 150 women, girls raped in South Sudan: UN

AFP  |  United Nations 

More than 150 women and girls have come forward in the past 12 days to seek help in after they were raped or suffered other forms of sexual violence, the heads of three UN agencies said Monday.

Armed men, many in uniform, carried out the attacks near the northern city of Bentiu, according to a joint statement from Henrietta Fore, who heads the UN children's agency UNICEF, UN and the of the UN Population Fund,

The three agencies condemned "these abhorrent attacks" and called on authorities to ensure the perpetrators face justice. (MSF) last week said 125 women and girls had been raped while walking to emergency set up by international aid agencies.

UN condemned the attacks. "These horrific acts are a distressing reminder of how, despite recent recommitments by South Sudan's leaders to a cessation of hostilities and a revitalised peace agreement, the security situation for civilians remains dire, especially for women and children," he said in a statement.

He urged all parties to the conflict and future leaders in "to ensure the safety of civilians and address impunity for these crimes through investigation and prosecution of perpetrators."

At war since 2013, South Sudan has seen horrific levels of sexual In the first half of 2018, some 2,300 cases were reported, the vast majority of those targeting women and girls.

More than 20 per cent of the victims were children, the UN statement said. The three agencies said the actual number of rapes was far higher because the is severely under-reported.

As well as being raped, MSF said many of the victims were "whipped, beaten or clubbed with sticks and rifle butts" and robbed of their clothes, shoes, money and the ration cards entitling them to

"In more than three years of working in South Sudan, I have never seen such a dramatic increase in survivors of sexual arriving at our programmes looking for medical care," said Ruth Okello, a MSF in South Sudan.

A UN panel of experts last month said in a report to the that there were "alarming levels" of and human rights abuses in South Sudan. The council is due to discuss the crisis in South Sudan on December 18.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 04 2018. 16:00 IST