Amnesty International Urges South Sudan to Probe Killings

South Sudan should arrest members of the security forces who killed 11 protesters in December in Western Bahr El Ghazal state, Amnesty International said.

The killings and subsequent “arbitrary arrests” of “scores” of people accused of instigating the protests have heightened tensions in the area, the London-based human rights group said. While video footage shows officers firing on unarmed protesters, no members of the security forces have been arrested, it said.

“Those responsible for unlawful killings, including the security forces responsible for killing protesters, must promptly be held to account,” Amnesty’s Africa director, Netsanet Belay, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Members of the security forces have been arrested in the case and “investigations are ongoing,” government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin told reporters today in Juba, the capital.

The protests began after the state government decided to relocate the administrative headquarters of Wau County from the city of Wau, the state capital, to Bagari, a town 19 kilometres (12 miles) away. During the violence, more than 5,000 people took shelter in a United Nations peacekeepers’ camp.

Hilde Johnson, who heads the UN Mission, told reporters in Juba on Feb. 15 that the national parliament’s investigations committee should “complete its work with urgency.”

The UN is “very concerned about the increasing number of prolonged arrests,” she said.

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