February 23, 2018, Human Right concluded that the goal of the government is to destroy as much as many community who are not Dinka. The report says that in July 2017, the SPLA had arrived in Mathiang, continuing to engage mortar fire and heavy artillery. The SPLA-IO (RM) and Nuer White Army resisted the attack before withdrawing.
SPLA forces destroyed humanitarian compounds, schools, a church, water points and a local hospital. The Commission also received information that SPLA-IO (RM)
forces abducted three humanitarian workers. The Commission received numerous reports of civilians being subjected to arbitrary killings, assault and gruesome acts of sexual violence, in addition to the destruction and looting of their property.
91. One witness, from Malow (Witness 301) told the Commission how she watched as
SPLA soldiers castrated her husband and forced her to hold his bloody testicles in one hand
as she shielded their new-born child with her other hand. She then watched three SPLA
soldiers rape her 70 year-old mother and coerce her twelve year-old son into having sex with
his grandmother. After raping the grandmother, the SPLA soldiers shot and killed her. The
woman’s husband and one-month old baby subsequently died during their flight to Ethiopia.
92. As the SPLA continued east towards Maiwut, their tanks got bogged down in the
seasonal mud, stalling the advance. The SPLA Chief of General Staff deployed attack
helicopters to reinvigorate the campaign, with SPLA forces reaching Maiwut in late July.
93. Despite the SPLA-IO (RM) base being located two kilometres outside the town, the
SPLA ground forces stormed Maiwut, raped women and massacred civilians in Maiwut and
the surrounding villages. SPLA troops embarked on a similar pattern of looting and
destruction, burning schools, the hospital, NGO facilities, as well as homes before advancing
94. One witness (Witness 333) recounted returning from seeking shelter in the bush to
find that his mother had been blinded by SPLA soldiers who gouged her eyes out with spears
as she unsuccessfully tried to defend her 17 year-old daughter from being raped by fourteen
soldiers. Seventeen SPLA soldiers then raped the man’s blind mother, while his father was
found beheaded with his castrated penis stuffed in his mouth.
95. Witnesses reported that as the SPLA arrived in Pagak in late July 2017, they began
shooting at civilians who had fled during earlier points in the offensive. Fierce fighting
continued before the town was captured by 7 August 2017. SPLA IO (RM) forces had already
counter-attacked to recover Mathiang and Maiwut.
96. Meanwhile, civilians who had fled earlier in the Government offensive described
walking for four to five days without food or water to reach Pagak and the Ethiopian border
with family members becoming separated or children dying along the journey from starvation
and thirst. Several women were reportedly raped as they sought food for their children.
97. The intense fighting led to the evacuation of nearly all humanitarian personnel, which
resulted in a dearth of aid for an estimated 50,000 civilians in an already dire humanitarian
98. Buoyed by the SPLA’s Pagak success, the Minister of Defence, Kuol Manyang
declared that the SPLA would “crush all remaining rebels in South Sudan within 30 days.”
Intermittent fighting continued around Pagak up until December 2017.