UNICEF: 129 children killed in South Sudan fighting in May

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

15 PHOTOS
South Sudan
See Gallery
UNICEF: 129 children killed in South Sudan fighting in May
Displaced South Sudanese women queue in knee-deep floodwaters to access fresh water originating from a borehole and stored in large bladders for them to access via a tap, at a makeshift camp for the displaced situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. South Sudanese residing in the U.N. camp are living in knee-deep, sewage-contaminated floodwater, the Doctors without Borders aid group said in Aug. 2014, stating that the conditions in the camp in Bentiu are "an affront to human dignity". (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
Displaced South Sudanese women leave the camp during the daytime to collect firewood and other supplies from town, next to United Nations peacekeepers from Mongolia guarding the gate, at a makeshift camp for the displaced situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. South Sudanese residing in the U.N. camp are living in knee-deep, sewage-contaminated floodwater, the Doctors without Borders aid group said in Aug. 2014, stating that the conditions in the camp in Bentiu are "an affront to human dignity". (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
Displaced South Sudanese women lay out their produce for sale, some of which is now being grown in the camp, following a midday storm at a makeshift camp for the displaced situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. South Sudanese residing in the U.N. camp are living in knee-deep, sewage-contaminated floodwater, the Doctors without Borders aid group said in Aug. 2014, stating that the conditions in the camp in Bentiu are "an affront to human dignity". (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
A woman and child from the Nuer ethnic group and a rebel soldier board a canoe to traverse flooded areas in order to reach a makeshift camp for the displaced situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Seyoum Mesfin, the chairman of the South Sudan mediation process said Saturday there is renewed fighting in South Sudan between government and rebel troops and that it is a purposeful act aimed at derailing the next phase of the peace process. (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 file photo, rebel soldiers patrol and protect civilians from the Nuer ethnic group, as the civilians walk through flooded areas to reach a makeshift camp for the displaced situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan. Sudan's government plans to increase military assistance to rebels in South Sudan, which could prolong the south's civil war and return the region to a wider conflict, according to leaked documents that a top American expert on Sudan has concluded are real.(AP Photo/Matthew Abbott, File)
A family of the Nuer ethnic group seeking medication and food, but who were planning to later return to their village in a Nuer rebel-controlled area, prepare to board a canoe to traverse a flooded area too deep to walk through, as they try to reach a makeshift camp for the displaced situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Seyoum Mesfin, the chairman of the South Sudan mediation process said Saturday there is renewed fighting in South Sudan between government and rebel troops and that it is a purposeful act aimed at derailing the next phase of the peace process. (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
A rebel soldier patrols through a flooded area near the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Seyoum Mesfin, the chairman of the South Sudan mediation process said Saturday there is renewed fighting in South Sudan between government and rebel troops and that it is a purposeful act aimed at derailing the next phase of the peace process. (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
A family of the Nuer ethnic group seeking medication and food, but who were planning to later return to their village in a Nuer rebel-controlled area, walk through flooded areas to reach a makeshift camp for the displaced situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Seyoum Mesfin, the chairman of the South Sudan mediation process said Saturday there is renewed fighting in South Sudan between government and rebel troops and that it is a purposeful act aimed at derailing the next phase of the peace process. (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 file photo, rebel soldiers guard the village of Majieng, about 6km from the town of Bentiu, in South Sudan. Sudan's government plans to increase military assistance to rebels in South Sudan, which could prolong the south's civil war and return the region to a wider conflict, according to leaked documents that a top American expert on Sudan has concluded are real. (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott, File)
Women from the Nuer ethnic group return to their villages after walking all day through chest-high mud and water to sell bags of charcoal to displaced people at a makeshift camp situated in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Seyoum Mesfin, the chairman of the South Sudan mediation process said Saturday there is renewed fighting in South Sudan between government and rebel troops and that it is a purposeful act aimed at derailing the next phase of the peace process. (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
In this photo of Friday, July 25, 2014, a child with suspected malnutrition is examined at IMC nutrition program clinic in Malakal, South Sudan. Health experts are meeting in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, Monday July 28, 2014, debating exactly how severe the famine situation is in South Sudan, and their decision may prompt millions of dollars in aid or condemn tens of thousands of displaced people to continued hunger in what is described by Chris Hillbruner, the lead food security analyst for FEWSNET, a famine early warning system "is still the worst food security emergency in the world ... there is still huge need." (AP Photo/ Matthew Abbott)
In this photo of Friday, July 25, 2014, Ertharin Cousin Executive Director of the United Nations World Food programme meets patients at IMC Nutrition program clinic in Malakal, South Sudan. Health experts are meeting in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, Monday July 28, 2014, debating exactly how severe the famine situation is in South Sudan, and their decision may prompt millions of dollars in aid or condemn tens of thousands of displaced people to continued hunger in what is described by Chris Hillbruner, the lead food security analyst for FEWSNET, a famine early warning system "is still the worst food security emergency in the world ... there is still huge need." (AP Photo/ Matthew Abbott)
A severally malnourished child lies on the bed at MSF hospital Bentiu, South Sudan, Thursday, July 3, 2014. Acute malnutrition and water born diseases are the main contributors to poor children’s health in Bentiu camp. Another issue is the lack of water with most only receiving 7-8 litres a day of fresh water, many turn to water from unsafe sources. (AP Photo/Matthew Abbott)
In this photo of Friday, July 25, 2014, Workers unloading grain for food distribution from a WFP plane in Malakal, South Sudan. Health experts are meeting in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, Monday July 28, 2014, debating exactly how severe the famine situation is in South Sudan, and their decision may prompt millions of dollars in aid or condemn tens of thousands of displaced people to continued hunger in what is described by Chris Hillbruner, the lead food security analyst for FEWSNET, a famine early warning system "is still the worst food security emergency in the world ... there is still huge need." (AP Photo/ Matthew Abbott)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) -- At least 129 children were killed, with boys castrated and girls raped, during a government offensive against rebels last month in South Sudan, according to the U.N. children's agency.

South Sudanese military spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer, on Thursday questioned the credibility of the report, saying it is not in South Sudanese culture to commit such atrocities and has called for a full investigation.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement Wednesday that survivors reported that boys were castrated and left to bleed out, while girls were gang raped and killed.

Other children were thrown into burning buildings, he said, adding that the killings took place over three weeks in May in Unity state.

"In the name of humanity and common decency this violence against the innocent must stop," Lake said.

Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. special representative for children in armed conflict, told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that "in one instance, young boys who did not manage to escape an attack on their village, were reportedly tied together with one role and their throats were slit."

She said "these heinous crimes fly in the face of numerous commitments by all parties in South Sudan to stop violations against children."

Zerrougui called on the international community, especially the African Union and the Security Council, "to take concerted action to protect these children, who have grown up surrounded by violence and insecurity."

UNICEF had reported in May that dozens of children were targeted, citing witnesses who said those responsible were armed groups aligned with South Sudan's military.

South Sudan has been fighting rebels led by the former deputy president since December 2013, when a split among the armed forces in the capital, Juba, later escalated in bloody violence across the country.

Watchdog groups have accused both sides of carrying out serious rights abuses against civilians.

---

Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations

---

This story has been corrected to show that UNICEF's Executive Director Anthony Lake issued a statement and did not speak in New York.

The Truth Behind South Sudan's Children Stricken By One Year Of War

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners