Washington -The White House expressed horror on Tuesday at
what it called the "abomination" of spiralling violence in South
Sudan, where rebels took another town from government troops in a worsening
The rebels seized the town of Bentiu last week, unleashing
two days of ethnic slaughter as they hunted down civilians sheltering in
mosques, churches and a hospital, butchering dozens on the roadside, according
to the UN.
"We are horrified by reports out of South Sudan that
fighters aligned with rebel leader Riek Machar massacred hundreds of innocent
civilians last week in Bentiu," said a statement from spokesman Jay
"Images and accounts of the attacks shock the
conscience: stacks of bodies found dead inside a mosque, patients murdered at a
hospital, and dozens more shot and killed in the streets and at a church -
apparently due to their ethnicity and nationality - while hate speech was
broadcast on local radio," it added noting the dead have been buried in
mass graves and refugee camp populations have surged.
Call for justice
"We are equally appalled by the armed attack last week
at the UN Mission in South Sudan site in Bor that killed at least 48 civilians
and injured dozens more," Carney said.
"These acts of violence are an abomination. They are a
betrayal of the trust the South Sudanese people have put in their
The White House called on President Salva Kiir and Riek
Machar to "make clear that attacks on civilians are unacceptable,
perpetrators of violence on both sides must be brought to justice, and the
cycle of violence that has plagued South Sudan for too long must come to an
Bentiu is the capital of the key oil-producing state of
Government forces said they have been forced to pull out of
another major settlement nearby amid furious rebel attacks.
South Sudan's army has been fighting rebels loyal to sacked
vice president Riek Machar since the unrest broke out more than four months
The conflict has taken on an ethnic dimension, pitting
President Salva Kiir's Dinka tribe against militia forces from Machar's Nuer