Militiamen raid South Sudan's Wau, at least 16 dead: witnesses, U.N.
At least 16 people were killed in the South Sudanese town of Wau on Monday, said the United Nations, as witnesses said ethnic militiamen went house to house searching for people from other groups,A PA reports quoting Reuters.
Streets were deserted as families hid inside, residents told Reuters by phone. Some reported seeing killings.
Witnesses said the militia members were aligned with the government in the country's ethnically charged civil war. They accused army soldiers of blocking the main road to a civilian encampment protected by U.N. peacekeepers.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said two U.N. peacekeeping patrols had been sent to the area on Monday and more were expected to patrol on Tuesday. The U.N. peacekeeping mission is known as UNMISS.
"They saw 16 bodies of civilians in a hospital and at least 10 others were injured," Dujarric told reporters in New York.
"Eighty-four people have arrived at the UNMISS protection of civilians site in Wau, while at least 3,000 people have reportedly moved to a site run by the Catholic church in town and those are mostly women and children," he said.
South Sudan's deputy army spokesperson, Colonel Santo Domic Chol, said fighting had first broken out during a mutiny by soldiers at the town's prison. He was awaiting more information, he said.
The fighting followed an ambush that killed a brigadier general and a colonel in Wau state over the weekend, a rebel spokesman based outside the country said.
"This morning the government forces were retaliating against innocent Fertit people," he said, referring to a local ethnic group.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it is flying a surgical team to Wau.
"The ICRC has received multiple requests to assist medical staff in Wau with patients wounded in the violence," a spokesman said.
A staff member at Wau Teaching Hospital said all the bodies it had received appeared to be civilian and all had gunshot wounds.
Five residents, all of whom asked not to be named, described members of the president's Dinka ethnic group searching for members of the local Luo and Fertit groups. The head of the military is also Dinka.
"We are still inside hiding," said one man by telephone, speaking from a Wau neighborhood called Nazareth. "I have seen four dead bodies of my neighbors."
"Armed militias are moving from house to house," one resident said. "It is an ethnic crackdown." Another said he had fled an attack that had killed many people, including his cousin.
South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, fired his deputy, Riek Machar, a Nuer. Fighting since then has often split the oil-producing country along ethnic lines and created a patchwork of armed factions.
The country is awash with weapons after decades of conflict with neighboring Sudan and local feuds over land.
Related news releases
- 25.05.2017400,000 children at risk of starvation in Congo: UNICEF
- 24.05.2017Al Shabaab bombing in Somali capital kills five, injures six
- 23.05.2017South Sudan shuts border with DR Congo over Ebola fears
- 23.05.2017S. African region declared disaster zone due to drought
- 21.05.20175,000 refugees rescued in 48 hours off Libya’s shores
- 20.05.2017Tunisia protesters shut oil transport pumping station
- 20.05.2017Death toll from Libya airbase attack rises to 140, defense chief suspended
- 19.05.2017Suicide bombers hit Nigerian university
- 19.05.2017Tunisia southern gas protests tense as negotiations falter
- 17.05.201727 killed in Nigeria gunmen attack
- 13.05.2017Sudan swears in new government
- 13.05.2017Democratic Republic of Congo hit by Ebola outbreak
- 12.05.2017Gambian police arrest former president’s 3 brothers
- 10.05.2017Egypt shuts down Rafah crossing at Gaza border after 4 days of open passage
- 10.05.2017South Sudan's president sacks army chief
- 08.05.2017Authorities kill 8 'terrorist elements' in Upper Egypt
- 08.05.2017Car bomb kills at least five in Somali capital
- 08.05.2017113 migrants missing after boat sinks off Libya: IOM
- 07.05.201782 School girls kidnapped by B'Haram in Nigeria freed
- 06.05.201735 pupils die in road accident in Tanzania - UPDATED
- 05.05.2017Attack on UN mission’s camp in Mali kills one peacekeeper
- 05.05.2017UN: Thousands of minors exploited in Boko Haram crisis
- 04.05.2017Somalia announces plan to defeat al-Shabaab
- 04.05.2017At least 9 peacekeepers injured in attack on UN mission’s camp in Mali
- 02.05.2017Eight Mali soldiers killed in ambush by suspected militants
- 29.04.201711 dead of mystery illness in Liberia as Ebola is ruled out
- 28.04.2017Egyptian opposition figure sentenced to 5 years in jail
- 27.04.2017Morocco parliament approves cabinet after months of uncertainty
- 27.04.2017Man killed in Kenya's heated election primaries
- 26.04.2017At least 9 people die of 'strange' disease in Liberia
- 21.04.2017Kenya military kills 52 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia
- 21.04.2017At least 20 children die in bus crash in South Africa
- 21.04.2017Zambian president threatens to declare emergency rule
- 19.04.2017Egypt receives second German-built attack submarine
- 18.04.2017Libya fishermen find 28 dead migrants in boat offshore
- 18.04.20178 mummies and artefacts unearthed in a 3500-year-old tomb in Egypt
- 13.04.2017Egypt's ministry of interior identifies Tanta church suicide bomber
- 01.04.2017Five killed in western Tanzania heavy rains
- 26.03.2017Explosion kills 2 children in Kenya's border town
- 24.03.2017Second car bomb claims 2 lives in Somali capital
- 11.04.2017Egyptian parliament approves 3-month state of emergency
- 11.04.2017Zambian police detain opposition leader
- 13.04.2017100 migrants missing after boat sinks off Libyan coast
- 11.04.2017Niger forces kill 57 members of Boko Haram: defense ministry
- 06.04.2017Sudan peace talks to resume in April: Chief negotiator
- 01.04.2017Zambia: 384 kg of illegal ivory seized, poachers nabbed