UN officials and diplomats late Friday urged the Security Council to protect the people in South Sudan from the threat of genocide, and to take whatever measures needed to put an end to their suffering.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, who visited South Sudan this week upon Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's request to assess the human rights situation there, briefed the Council on their findings.
"The deadly spiral of revenge killings that has developed over the past four and a half months appears to be reaching a level of intensity that generates a real fear of disaster for the people of South Sudan," Pillay told the Council in an open meeting.
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The violence that broke out in mid-December following a power struggle between President Salva Kiir, who belongs to the Dinka Tribe, and his opponent former Vice-President Riek Mashar, who belongs to the rival Nuer tribe, quickly degenerated into ethnic violence that resulted in thousands of victims.
In April, forces loyal to Machar attacked civilians in Bentiu, pursuing them into a hospital, a church and a mosque, killing hundreds. In Bor, several hundred armed youths forced their way into the UN camps, where civilians took refuge, and fired in an ethnically-motivated assault, killing over a hundred.