Antonio Guterres

The UN has condemned a series of brutal sexual assaults on 125 women and girls, travelling on the road to Bentiu, a town in the north of the war-ravaged South Sudan.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said over the last 10 days, the women and girls had sought treatment after having been sexually assaulted, as they walked along roads near Nhialdu and Guit.

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The victims, who were on their way to the town near the Sudanese border, were also robbed and beaten, according to the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

The attacks were reportedly carried out by young men, some of whom wore civilian clothes while others were dressed in military uniforms.

David Shearer, the head of UNMISS, termed the attacks “absolutely abhorrent” and demanded that they must stop.

“The violent assaults happened in a Government-controlled area and it has primary responsibility for the safety of civilians,” he said.

He said UNMISS had held urgent meetings with authorities and urged them to take immediate action to protect women and girls in the area and to hold the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to account.