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Children ‘forced to watch rape’ in South Sudan

Children in South Sudan have been forced to watch their mothers being raped and killed, the UN says.

A report by UN human rights investigators says that 40 officials may be individually responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It says civilians have been tortured and mutilated, and villages destroyed on an industrial scale.

Conflict between government factions has continued in South Sudan despite a peace deal signed in 2015.

Of the 40 senior officials identified as potentially responsible for atrocities, five are colonels and three are state governors. They have not been named by the report, but their identities could be made public at trial at a later date.

The UN says the testimony gathered from survivors is “devastating”, including some people being forced to rape family members “in cases reminiscent of Bosnia”.

One woman said her 12-year-old son was forced to have sex with his grandmother, in order to stay alive.

The same woman also saw her husband being castrated. Another man saw his companion, a man, gang-raped and left for dead in the bushes.

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