“Liberators” who broadcast their intention to murder and rape innocent people? “Liberators,” you say? Here’s proof that racist murder is not simply the purview of white supremacists.
An ‘abomination’: Slaughter in the mosques and churches of Bentiu, South Sudan
BY FRED BARBASH
As they seized the oil hub Bentiu, South Sudanese rebels slaughtered hundreds of civilians seeking refuge in a mosque, a Catholic Church and a hospital, the United Nations has said.
There is no body count for the city of Bentiu in South Sudan, perhaps because there are too many to count. The news from the United Nations’ mission in South Sudan only describes “piles and piles” of bodies. Other reports speak of streets “littered” with bodies. A mosque was filled with hundreds of bodies. More inside the Catholic church. Bodies in the hospital.
“A strong stench of decomposing remains filled the air, while vultures and dogs ate off limbs, scalps and abdomen flesh,” said one report.
There are so many that they’re being collected by bulldozers and dumped into mass graves, the White House said last night.
“Accounts of the attacks shock the conscience,” said a statement Tuesday night from the White House press secretary. It’s an “abomination.”
Bentiu is the capital of the South Sudanese state of Unity, routinely described as “oil-rich.” But to call it “rich,” and, indeed, to call the state “Unity,” seems absurd — and the tragedy has pushed South Sudan, the youngest country in the world, into yet another chapter of violence.
Born in 2011, South Sudan came to be with the help of the United States out of the rubble of a Sudanese civil war. A split between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar triggered fighting between their forces in December. Since then, an estimated 1 million people have been driven from their homes, about 800,000 of them internally displaced and another 200,000 refugees driven into into Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan.
But these killings were, in some ways, different from those that have come before. The rebels made no secret of their plans. A local radio station featured rebel commanders warning certain ethnic groups, everybody but the Nuers, that they were coming for them, calling on the other groups to rape the non-Nuer women.
People had sought refuge in places of worship and healing. But as has been the case in other towns, there wasn’t any after the killing began on April 15.