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AU opens probe into S Sudan atrocities

12 March 2014, 14:02

Addis Ababa - The African Union opened a commission of inquiry on Wednesday into atrocities carried out in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

South Sudan's government has been at war with rebel groups since 15 December, when a clash between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar snowballed into full-scale fighting across the world's newest nation.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo heads the five-member commission, which was set up to "investigate human rights violations and other abuses during the conflict by all parties".

"Whoever is responsible must not get away with impunity," said Obasanjo, who will later submit the team's recommendations to the AU.

"Africa must not condone impunity of Africans treating Africans as if they are not human beings," he added. "I want to assure you we will leave no stone unturned."

AU commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the team faced a "very important and heavy responsibility".

War crimes have been committed by all sides in the war, Human Rights Watch has said, detailing widespread atrocities in almost three months of carnage.

The two sides signed a ceasefire agreement on 23 January, but heavy fighting has continued.

Stalled peace talks in Ethiopia, which have made little progress, are due to resume on 20 March.

The trial of four top leaders accused of treason for allegedly attempting to topple Kiir opened on Tuesday.



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