South Sudan rebels have killed hundreds of people based on their ethnic origins and nationality after seizing the oil hub of Bentiu last week, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says.
The U.N. Mission in South Sudan says the slayings took place in Bentiu after rebel forces seized the town from government troops on April 15.
The mission says the rebels killed more than 200 and wounded more than 400 civilians at a local mosque where hundreds of people had taken shelter to escape fighting. It says the rebels, known as the SPLA in Opposition, escorted people of certain nationalities and ethnic groups to safety before killing the others.
There was no immediate comment on the report from the rebels or South Sudan\’s government.
South Sudan has been wracked by fighting since mid-December when the government accused a former vice president of leading a coup attempt.
A U.N. official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, posted video Monday of several bodies lying along a dirt road in Bentiu. He said on Twitter that thousands of people have fled the town in recent days and that 22,000 civilians are now being protected at a local U.N. compound.
The U.N. mission condemned the killings, and mission chief Raisedon Zenenga said the perpetrators must be held accountable.
Ethnic violence and clashes between rebel and government forces in South Sudan have killed thousands of people in recent months and displaced an estimated 1 million from their homes. Peace talks in Ethiopia have made little progress.
The UN has about 8,500 peacekeepers in South Sudan, which became the world newest state after seceding from Sudan in 2011.