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In South Sudan Country not falling into genocide, says official

The country's Deputy Minister of Information called for an end to targeted killings that have caused tension.

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President Salva Kiir, sacked Riek Machar as his deputy, accusing him of plotting a coup in December 2013 play

President Salva Kiir, sacked Riek Machar as his deputy, accusing him of plotting a coup in December 2013

(AFP/File)

A senior South Sudanese official has denied a UN report that the war-torn country risked recording genocide due to targeted killings along ethnic lines.

Deputy Minister of Information, Paul Kordit, told newsmen on Monday that the report by UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, was alarming but overstated the situation.

“I do not think this country can slide into genocide.

“This country has experience of conflict and emerging from it stronger. I have seen the report but the statement was overstated.

“What people of South Sudan need are not messages that spread fear but those that give them hope,’’ Kordit added.

Dieng concluded his fact-finding mission in South Sudan on Friday.

He observed that the country risked falling into genocide if the government did not intervene to nip the situation in the bud.

“Inflammatory rhetoric, stereotyping and name-calling have been accompanied by targeted killings and rape of members of particular ethnic groups,’’ Dieng said.

He called for an end to targeted killings that have caused tension between the Equatorial region’s Bari-speaking tribes and Dinka, the largest ethnic group in South Sudan.

Civil war broke out in December, 2013, between government troops led by President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to sacked First Vice President, Riek Machar.

Tens of thousands have died and over two million have been displaced ever since.

A peace deal signed between the rival leaders under UN pressure in 2015 led to the formation of a unity government in April, but was shattered by renewed fighting that erupted in early July.

Machar, who had returned to his old post as Kiir’s deputy in the unity government, was sacked again and fled the country after the July fighting.

He is now in residence in South Africa and has asked his supporters to launch a rebellion.

Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands forced out of their homes since July. 

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