Juba: The United Nations secretary-general is launching an independent investigation into allegations that UN peacekeepers did not respond to prevent multiple cases of abuse and sexual violence against civilians and foreigners in South Sudan's capital.
Ban Ki-moon's spokesman said late on Tuesday that the UN chief is alarmed by reports of the 11 July attack on a compound popular with foreigners in Juba. The Associated Press this week reported that South Sudanese troops went on a nearly four-hour rampage through the compound in one of the worst targeted attacks on aid workers in the country's three-year civil war.
Several witnesses told the AP that soldiers shot dead a local journalist while forcing the foreigners to watch, raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, beat and robbed people and carried out mock executions.
Separately, several witnesses also told the AP that UN peacekeepers in Juba did not stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the UN's main camp last month.
The UN chief "urges, once more, the government of South Sudan to investigate these human right violations and to prosecute those involved in these unspeakable acts of violence," his spokesman said in a statement.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir told lawmakers on Monday that his government is also investigating the attack at the compound.
Kiir also said the country's military was not "completely subordinate to the authority of a civilian government" and that the government "will show zero tolerance" toward sexual assault.