Rights Group: South Sudan Troops Committed War Crimes

July 22, 2015 Updated: July 22, 2015

JUBA, South Sudan—An international human rights group says South Sudanese troops committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity by killing and raping civilians during an offensive in rebel-held parts of the country’s Unity State.

Human Rights Watch Wednesday accused the South Sudanese army and their allies in the Bul Nuer ethnic group of forcibly displacing tens of thousands of people in Unity by attacking women, elderly, and children, while burning villages and stealing cattle. The group said many of the attacks were against villages with no presence of rebel fighters.

South Sudan’s civil war has inflamed the country’s ethnic tensions. The followers of President Salva Kiir, mostly from the Dinka ethnic group, are pitted against the Nuer of former vice president Riek Machar in fight that started in December 2013.