South Sudan soldiers on trial over rape of aid workers

Thirteen South Sudanese soldiers have gone on trial accused of raping foreign aid workers and murdering their local colleague. The incident in the capital, Juba, last July resulted in a UN report that accused peacekeepers of failing to protect civilians.

Thirteen South Sudanese soldiers have gone on trial accused of raping foreign aid workers and murdering their local colleague.

The incident in the capital, Juba, last July resulted in a UN report that accused peacekeepers of failing to protect civilians.

 

It happened as rival forces in the civil war clashed in the city.

 

The soldiers’ lawyer said the allegations were untrue, Reuters news agency reports.

 

The incident happened in a rebel-controlled area, he added

Peace efforts have failed to bring an end to the three-and-a-half-year-old conflict, which has seen forces loyal to President Salva Kiir fighting troops who back former Vice-President Riek Machar.

The trial concerns an attack on the Terrain Hotel, home to aid workers from a number of international organisations.

Its manager, Mike Woodward, has been giving evidence at the military court in Juba, Reuters reports.

Between 50 and 100 soldiers entered the compound, looted the place and then raped five women, he is quoted as saying.

The defence lawyer said the compound was in a rebel-held part of the city, implying that government troops could not have been responsible.

Some of the victims said their calls for help from the UN had gone unanswered.

A UN investigation backed their claims that peacekeepers had refused to respond when the compound was attacked.

The incident happened during three days of fighting in which at least 73 people were killed, including more than 20 internally displaced people who had sought UN protection.

Agencies

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