Bodies of perceived enemies were mutilated, burned, drained of human blood and forced to be eaten by one ethnic community to another in the civil war in South Sudan that has been ongoing since 2013.
Warning: This article contains disturbing information. Readers’ discretion is advised.
The AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) found extreme cases of human cruelty that constitute violation of international law; worst, some of those who committed the barbaric deeds were the same government forces who vowed to protect the civilians.
The Commission found cases of sexual and gender-based violence committed both by the rebels and government forces. The commission, headed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, found that both parties torture each other through mutilation of bodies, burning of bodies, draining human blood from people who had just been killed and forcing others from one ethnic community to drink the blood or eat burned human flesh.
The Commission saw torched houses, market place, government establishments and hospitals that it can indisputably say that such barbarism occurred. In one town called Malakal, both government forces and rebels killed civilians and raped women. People seeking refuge at the Malakal Teaching Hospital were massacred while women and children hiding at the Malakal Catholic Church were raped.
In another town in Bentiu, women and children being raped were maimed; in some instances their limbs were dismembered. Women who were interviewed by the commission said they were abducted, kidnapped, raped, beaten and forced to eat human flesh.
The commission concluded that the war seemed ethnic in nature. The committee, with Honorable Sophia Akuffo of Ghana, Ms. Bineta Diop of Senegal, Professor Mahmood Mamdani of Uganda, and Professor Pacifique Manirakiza of Burund as members, is now looking for recommendations on the best ways to ensure accountability of those who committed the crime and healing of those people traumatized.