SPLA-IO (SPLA-In Opposition) rebels hold up guns in Yondu, the day before an assault on government SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) soldiers in the town of Kaya, South Sudan, in 2017. File picture: Siegfried Modola/Reuters

Juba - South Sudan's army and several armed groups killed more than 100 civilians in a surge in violence in a southern region of the country after the signing of a peace deal last year, a UN report said on Wednesday.

The armed forces also committed sexual violence including rape against around 100 women and girls in the same region, Central Equatoria, between September 2018 and April 2019, the report by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country found.

The violence in the Central Equatorian region is an exception to the trend of a "significant decrease in conflict-related violations and abuses" across South Sudan since the deal was signed, the report said.

Lul Ruai Koang, South Sudan's military spokesman, said he had not seen the report and declined to comment on its contents.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but descended into a civil war two years later. A 2018 study found that nearly 400 000 people have died as a result of the war.

After a string of failed agreements, the two main warring parties signed a deal last September. In May, the two sides agreed to give themselves six more months to form a unity government as part of the deal. 

Reuters