UPDATE 2-South Sudan forces killed 114 civilians around Yei in six months - UN
(Adds army spokesman comment)
By Tom Miles
GENEVA May 19 (Reuters) - South Sudanese pro-government forces killed at least 114 civilians in and around Yei town from July 2016 to January 2017, the U.N. human rights office said in a report on Friday that the army dismissed as "baseless".
The most recent round of fighting in oil-rich South Sudan's civil war flared up last July when the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir chased his rival and former deputy Riek Machar and a small band of followers from the capital Juba southwest through Yei and into neighbouring Congo.
The SPLA also committed an unknown number of rapes and incidents of torture and looting, the U.N. said in the report.
Another 45 people were killed by the SPLA in attacks in other towns this April, the monitors of a failed ceasefire said in a separate report on Friday.
"Attacks were committed with an alarming degree of brutality and, like elsewhere in the country, appeared to have an ethnic dimension," the U.N. said in the report, adding that the incidents may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.
"These cases included attacks on funerals and indiscriminate shelling of civilians; cases of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, including those fleeing fighting; often committed in front of the victims’ families."
The SPLA's chase of Machar and his men led to fighting across South Sudan's Equatorias region, particularly in the southwestern town of Yei. Continued...