The United Nations has confirmed that hundreds of people were targeted and killed in an apparent ethnic cleansing following the rebel capture of the South Sudanese oil hub of Bentiu last week. According to a press release issued by UNMISS, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, “hundreds” of civilians were killed after the SPLA in Opposition (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) determined their ethnic or national origin.
Some families from the Nuer community, who are believed to support the rebels, were killed after they hid and didn't join in to cheer on the SPLA in Opposition when they entered the town. UNMISS reports that more than 200 civilians were killed, and at least 400 were wounded at the Kali-Ballee Mosque alone. Non-Nuers and foreign nationals were also murdered.
The BBC reports that victims were also targeted at a church and a hospital, and that local radio station, Radio Bangui FM, broadcast hate speech that urged men to rape women and encouraged certain ethnic groups to leave. "These atrocities must be fully investigated and the perpetrators and their commanders shall be held accountable", said Raisedon Zenenga, the Officer in Charge of UNMISS. Bentiu’s capture occurred two days before an attack at a U.N. compound in Bor, which killed at least 58 people, according to the SBS news network. The compound is a shelter for more than 5,000 civilians seeking refuge from violence in the country.