S.Sudan army 'hung, torched' civilians

Government forces in South Sudan allegedly hung civilians from trees and burned others alive in their homes in an orgy of violence described graphically in a United Nations report.

Victims included the elderly, disabled, and women and children, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which accused the army of pursuing a "scorched-earth" policy in opposition areas in Unity State.

An investigation by UN human rights monitors found evidence of sexual violence "with at least 120 women and girls raped or gang-raped, including children as young as four."

"One 20-year-old woman was still bleeding from childbirth when she was raped," the report said.

The alleged violence documented took place between April and May after clashes between government forces and rebels in Unity State, the UN said, with at least 232 civilians killed in the villages of Mayendit and Leer.

Thousands fled and sought shelter at UN protected sites, while thousands more fled into the bush, according to the report, noting that three local aid workers were also killed.

"There must be consequences for the men who reportedly gang-raped a 6-year-old child, who slit the throats of elderly villagers, who hanged women for resisting looting, and shot fleeing civilians in the swamps where they hid," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused rebel leader Riek Machar, then his deputy, of plotting a coup.