A report has uncovered evidence of forced cannibalism, blood drinking, rape, and dismemberment carried out by both warring sides in South Sudan.
The report, released late on Tuesday, is the outcome of an investigation by the The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) that accuses both the government and rebels in South Sudan of carrying out the extreme acts of violence against civilian population.
“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,” read part of the 342-page report.
Among the atrocities listed 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.”
The report also referred to the conscription of child soldiers and the discovery of mass graves, noting that most of the crimes were carried out in the capital Juba, where Dinka tribe soldiers massacred ethnic Nuers, and in the town of Bor, where Nuers killed Dinkas.
It also says that violence — which started in Juba in December 2013 as fighting erupted between troops loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and defectors led by former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer — may have been premeditated.
“The manifestation of the conflict, and subsequent geographical spread, gives rise to an inference of an element of coordination that hardly seems possible without forethought,” the report concluded.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than two million people.
The government forces and rebels signed a ceasefire deal, which has reportedly failed to stop the clashes.