South Sudan Troops Deliberately Suffocated Over 60 Civilians

Troops Dumped The Bodies in Open Pits in Unity State

Amnesty International has continued the investigation into the mass death of South Sudanese civilians forced into a shipping container by troops, determining that the troops deliberately suffocated over 60 civilians on the grounds of Comboni Catholic Church, near Leer, Unity State.

Witnesses say they heard the screams of the people forced into the container, after their arbitrary detention by the military, and saw soldiers open the container at least once to remove corpses before sealing it back up, with other detainees still alive.

Ultimately, everyone in the container was killed, and their bodies loaded on a truck and driven to a nearby field, where they were dumped into a pair of open pits. Amnesty is urging the establishment of a war crimes court to deal with the killings.

Though the killings occurred six months ago, there appears to have been no real attempt to either cover up the deaths or hold anyone to account, and Amnesty reported that researchers who arrived on the church grounds this month found numerous skeletons still strewn about the area.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.