African Nations to Discuss South Sudan War Probe by Mid-July

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African government ministers will meet within a month to discuss a delayed report on an investigation into abuses during South Sudan’s conflict and how to bring accountability and reconciliation, the African Union said.

The officials will “consider” the report by mid-July, the continental body’s Peace and Security Council said in a statement e-mailed from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday. The decision was made by African leaders at a meeting of the council on June 13 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

African leaders earlier this year deferred publication of its report into violence in South Sudan because of concern that it might endanger the peace process in the oil-producing nation, South Sudan’s presidency said in February.

Fighting between government and rebel forces that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 has left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 2 million displaced. The country is facing the highest levels of food insecurity in its four-year history, with 4.6 million people, or 40 percent of the population, facing acute hunger in the next three months and needing urgent aid, the World Food Programme said last month.

The move is a “step forward” in holding President Salva Kiir and other officials accountable for the mass killing of ethnic Nuer in the capital, Juba, that sparked the insurgency, said Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the head of a rebel foreign relations committee. “We’re actually hoping this time it will be made public,” he said by phone from Pretoria on Monday.

The mobile phone of Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, was switched off and Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth wasn’t immediately available when Bloomberg called seeking comment on Monday.

(Updates with rebel official’s comment in fifth paragraph.)
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