S. Sudan Civil War Enters 2nd Year

S. Sudan Civil War Enters 2nd YearS. Sudan Civil War Enters 2nd Year

From a 14-month old toddler to a 105-year old grandmother: the first names of some of the tens of thousands killed in South Sudan since civil war began a year ago were released Monday.

With no official toll, South Sudanese civil society volunteers have spent months collecting, cross checking and confirming the names of those killed, the AFP wrote.

“This list, although a fraction of the total loss, reflects the devastating human impact of South Sudan’s year long war in which no one has been officially counting the dead,” said Anyieth D’Awol, who is organizing the “Naming Those We Lost” project.

“Peace remains elusive, mass graves dot the landscape with civilians, both young and old, bearing the brunt of the fighting.”

The International Crisis Group estimates that at least 50,000 people have been killed, while some diplomats suggest it could even be double that figure.

Fighting broke out in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.

The United Nations on Monday for the first time confirmed that “tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been killed,” with UN chief Ban Ki-moon in a statement condemning Kiir and Machar, who he said had “allowed their personal ambitions to jeopardize the future of an entire nation.”

But no official toll has been kept either by the government, rebels or the UN.    

Thousands were killed in the first weeks alone, before fighting spread to other towns and regions across the poverty-stricken young country.

Campaigners say South Sudan is locked in conflict, with the bloodshed that erupted in Juba exactly a year ago having set off a cycle of retaliatory massacres across large swathes of the country.

Witnesses reported soldiers going door-to-door, as members of Kiir’s Dinka tribe hunted down ethnic Nuer, the people of Machar. At night, bodies were discreetly trucked out of the city and burned or buried, witnesses and human rights groups say.

Both Kiir’s forces and rebels loyal to Machar have been accused of widespread atrocities -- massacres, gang rapes and child soldier recruitment -- that have seen the country teeter on the brink of genocide.

Half the country’s 12 million people need aid, the UN says, including nearly two million people who fled their homes from the fighting.

The war in South Sudan is worsening with “extreme violence” and growing hunger, rights groups warned Monday, one year on since the start of conflict.

“We’re in an even darker place than before independence, it will take decades for South Sudan to recover and heal,” said Edmund Yakani, from the Juba-based Community Empowerment for Progress Organization.

Few are optimistic of peace any time soon.