South Sudan’s violent conflict is now genocide being perpetrated along tribal lines, a British official says, urging foreign leaders to do more to force the country’s government to end it.
Priti Patel, the UK secretary of state for international development, says there are “massacres taking place, people’s throats being slit” amid what she calls a “scorched-earth policy” in the world’s youngest country.
Patel visited South Sudan this week, where she met South Sudan President Salva Kiir, whose government is accused of blocking food aid to some areas.
Villages were being burned down, women were being raped and food was being used as a weapon of war, Patel said on Wednesday in neighbouring Uganda, where she visited some of the settlements housing more than 800,000 South Sudanese refugees.
Thousands continue to flee South Sudan amid increasing reports of ethnic killings by mostly government forces.
“It’s tribal, it’s absolutely tribal, so on that basis it’s genocide,” she said.
“Other leaders in the region cannot sit on their hands here. They themselves have to call on President Kiir to do more.”
A United Nations report released in March says South Sudan is experiencing ethnic cleansing by mostly government forces and their allies.