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US Condemns South Sudan Soldiers Who Raped and Killed Civilians

A contingent of United Nations peacekeepers and the USA embassy failed to respond to multiple calls for help from a group of aid workers under attack in South Sudan, according to an Associated Press report published Monday.

One female victim told the Associated Press that she was raped by 15 South Sudanese soldiers during the attack last month at a residential compound in Juba that is popular with foreigners.

Recent press reports in the U.S. cite accusations that Kiir's troops singled out Americans for abuse and beatings, carried out mock executions and gang-raped several foreign women during a rampage at the Terrain hotel in Juba last month.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power has requested an investigation as to why peacekeepers failed to respond, and has demanded "swift corrective action".

Army spokesperson Lul Ruai did not deny the attack at the Terrain but said it was premature to conclude the army was responsible.

"We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help", said the State Department.

She said the U.S. State Department has also contacted top United Nations officials about the allegations that United Nations peacekeepers failed to respond.

The UN leader said he had launched "an independent special investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding these incidents and to evaluate the Mission's overall response".

"The Secretary-General 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", the statement said.

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Power addressed the allegation made by witnesses at the Terrain compound to the AP that the USA embassy was unresponsive to their pleas for help, saying the mission "responded to distress calls from the compound and urgently contacted South Sudanese government officials, who sent a response force to the site to stop the attack".

"I think there will be considerable global pressure for the perpetrators of this attack to be held to account", said Bryce.

In the safe house, they executed one South Sudanese journalist because of his ethnic identity, beat many others, and threatened to kill foreigners "to show the world by example", one survivor remembers the soldiers saying.

According to NBC News, forces subservient to South Sudan President Salva Kiir have battled supporters of Vice President Riek Machar. The clashes killed at least 270 people, displaced 36,000 civilians and left an August 2015 peace deal in jeopardy. Gai's visit comes days after the UN Security Council approved a US-drafted resolution backed by regional bloc IGAD to strengthen the 12,000-person peacekeeping mission, known as UNMISS, with 4,000 additional troops drawn from regional armies and equipped with a more aggressive mandate. But are more troops enough?

The civil war began in December 2013, when the President accused his former Vice President of attempting a coup. The camp came under attack in February when fighting broke out between rival groups. Numerous women were raped; one Western woman reported that she was raped by five soldiers. One woman was raped by 15 troops in one day.

"Everyone is armed, and everyone has access to uniforms and we have people from other organized forces, but it was definitely done by people of South Sudan and by armed people of Juba", he told the Associated Press.

A Human Rights Watch report released on Monday documented extensive killings, looting and rapes in the July violence and its aftermath.

Tensions between UNMISS and the government will likely continue to grow.

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