Mass graves have been discovered in South Sudan with evidence of horrific crimes against civilians including forced cannibalism, according to a report. The shocking findings were revealed by the African Union Commission of Inquiry which had been tasked with investigating the civil war that has gripped the country for nearly two years. The violence has left tens of thousands of people dead and the impoverished country split along ethnic lines – between the Dinka-led government and Neur opposition. The report presented testimony that the atrocities may have been pre-planned by both government fighters and rebels. There are reasonable grounds to believe that acts of murder, rape and sexual violence, torture and other inhumane acts have been committed by both sides to the conflict.
Among the most shocking of many acts of ‘extreme cruelty’ identified in the report were claims of, ‘draining human blood from people who had just been killed and forcing others from one ethnic community to drink the blood or eat burnt human flesh.’
More than two million people have fled their homes in a war marked by gang rapes and the use of child soldiers. The government and rebels have repeatedly signed peace deals but the ceasefire has been broken numerous times. Investigators, led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, found the conflict began with a skirmish between members of the presidential guard followed by the government-organised killings of ethnic Nuer civilians and soldiers.