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Johannesburg – The UN human rights office, OHCHR, has documented multiple killings and a campaign of sexual violence that may amount to war crimes in South Sudan’s Unite state.

Following the abuses which were documented by United Nations rights monitors in April and May and which deliberately targeted women and children, the UN has called for government and opposition forces to be held accountable.

In its report issued on Tuesday, the UN said at least 120 women and girls were raped and those unable to flee were killed as part of a deliberate “scorched earth” policy that has displaced thousands of people.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called on the government to halt all attacks against civilians, launch investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable, including those who bear the responsibility of commanding fighters.

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva that at least 232 people were killed in the attacks on villages in opposition-controlled areas, in Mayendit and Leer.

Additionally, the report highlighted that opposition armed groups also carried out retaliatory attacks on civilians; its findings coming amid reported progress in peace talks between rival factions in the country, who have been embroiled in brutal civil conflict since late 2013.

African News Agency (ANA)