, JUBA, Jan 9- Rebels in South Sudan slaughtered at least 353 civilians in April last year, including people sheltering in a mosque, hospital and a United Nations base, UN rights investigators said Friday.
The report is the first detailed account of two incidents that have highlighted a pattern of gross abuses and atrocities committed during the year old civil war in the world’s youngest nation.
The UN also noted that nearly nine months after the events, “no perpetrator has been held accountable” for the killings.
In the April 15 attack on the northern oil town of Bentiu, fighters backing South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar murdered at least 287 civilians sheltering in a mosque, many of them traders and their families from neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur region.
Later that day, 19 civilians were killed in the town’s hospital, UN investigators said.
Fighters also took to the radio urging rival groups to be forced from the town and for men to rape women from the rival tribe.
“Victims were deliberately targeted on the basis of their ethnicity, nationality or perceived support for one of the parties to the conflict,” the UN said in a 33 page report.