Members of the Sudanese Armed Forces.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli-made rifles are being used in the South Sudan civil war according to an interim report for the United Nations Security Council drafted by a three-member panel of experts.
The 55-page document focused on the supply of arms and ammunition to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition, as well as to affiliated forces.
Such armament has been has been instrumental in prolonging and escalating the war, the panel said.
In one paragraph 74 of the report, it noted that “Israeli-produced IWI ACE automatic rifles were identified in a series of photographs taken on the ground in South Sudan.
“At least some of the rifles were delivered to the National Security Service before the outbreak of the war, but have now been observed by the Panel in the possession of SPLA (both the army and the air force), the national police and the National Security Service, primarily with bodyguards of high-ranking officials and with senior army officers,” the report said.
Separately it noted that all parties to the conflict “are deliberately using rape as part of their war tactics and are able to do so with full impunity. Multiple actors have reported on those patterns of sexual violence.”
It estimated that more than 13,000 children have been recruited to serve in war, mostly by the opposition, either as combatants or to help with “supportive functions,” the panel said.
The panel called for the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo against South Sudan.
On Tuesday the council heard a briefing by U.N. aid chief Stephen O'Brien who told of reports of atrocities, some allegedly committed by government troops.
"I am very concerned about the atrocities which continue to be reported. The scope and level of cruelty that has characterized the attacks against civilians suggest a deep depth of antipathy that goes beyond political differences. Allegations include rampant killing, rape, abduction, looting, arson and forced displacement and even such horrific acts as burning of people inside their own homes," said O’Brien.
The scope and level of cruelty in the attacks against civilians "suggests a depth of antipathy that goes beyond political differences," he added.
Referring to examples of the recent violence in Unity State, O'Brien said: "A witness from Rubkona County has said that she saw government forces gang-raping a breast-feeding mother after tossing her baby aside.”
South Sudan was plunged into a civil war in December 2013 when a political crisis sparked fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy Riek Machar. The conflict has reopened ethnic fault lines that pit Kiir's Dinka people against Machar's ethnic Nuer people.
Kiir is expected to sign a peace deal on Wednesday to end the conflict. Machar signed the deal last week.