South Sudan accused of suffocating 50 people in container

A report recently released by a ceasefire-monitoring organization has accused South Sudan’s army of locking 50 people in a shipping container last Oct. 22, resulting in their deaths due to suffocation and heat.

A report conducted by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, dated Jan. 29, was submitted to the African Union. The deaths of the 50 people by suffocation was one of five violations of the permanent ceasefire. The report offered very few details of the event.

According to Stream Africa, “The containers are commonly used as prison cells in the country. Considering the temperatures could go up to 40 degrees Celsius, the victims had no chance of survival.” The incident was reported to have taken place in Unity State. The group attributed responsibility of the event to government forces, but no one has yet been officially charged or brought in.

The government has not reported the incident. Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk disputed the incident Monday in a phone interview that he had not been informed of any details surrounding the event, “If there was such an incident then it should have been brought to my attention,” he said. “If it was not brought to my attention as a minister then this report is not true. Reports by individuals without authentic evidence should be verified.”

A civil war broke out in December 2013 between government forces led by President Salva Kiir and rebel forces led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar. Even though a peace deal was brokered and signed by both Kiir and Machar, it is reportedly faltering due to Kiir’s “reorganization of the oil-producing country into 28 states.” Since the start of the conflict, thousands of individuals have been killed and more than two million people have been forced to flee their homes to get away from the fighting.

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