South Sudanese government and opposition soldiers have repeatedly attacked a United Nations refugee settlement in Lasu, the southern region of the country, an official from the UN High Commission for Refugees told Radio Tamazuj.
“Armed men in uniform went on a looting rampage for days, firing guns in the air, breaking into the homes of dozens of refugees and seizing their food, personal belongings and livestock,” the UN said in a statement, adding that one Congolese woman was raped, and two were abducted and remain in captivity.
The violence comes as the southern region of South Sudan has turned increasingly lawless amid the government’s attempts to portray it as stable.
The UN said that on Monday, armed groups penetrated the settlement and ransacked the primary health care centre, stealing drugs, medical supplies and furniture. “They also seized radio communication equipment and solar panels used to pump water to private and public facilities in the settlement, leaving the population without drinking water. A day earlier (18 September), a patient was tortured in the same health centre and medical staff threatened at gunpoint,”
In recent days, armed groups have repeatedly entered the settlement and fired shots, assaulted refugees, looted and destroyed humanitarian assets, goods and property, according to UNHCR.
Lasu used to host over 10,000 refugees, mostly from DRC but with some from Sudan and the Central African Republic, but nearly 8,000 fled the area due to the fighting in Lasu.