Johnson calls massacre reports ‘misleading’

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Hilde Frafjord Johnson, the Norwegian special envoy for the UN to South Sudan, says there’s no foundation for reports that 3,000 persons were massacred in South Sudan last week. She called reports of the massacre “misleading.”

Hilde Frafjord Johnson was born in Malawi, and is a former government minister for foreign aid in Norway, from the Christian Democrats party. PHOTO: Wikipedia / Norden.org

Johnson told newspaper Aftenposten that she visited the areas around Pibor in Jonglei province in eastern South Sudan over the weekend, along with the ambassadors from the US, France and Great Britain.  “Nothing of what we saw during the visit could confirm that the numbers of dead reported in the media are correct,” Johnson told Aftenposten.

International media carried the reports that several thousand warriors from the Lou Nuer tribe had attacked another ethnic group and that around 3,000 Murle men, women and children were killed. Around a thousand children were also said to have been kidnapped.

“There’s no basis for that,” said Johnson, who took over her post as special envoy for the UN last summer. She said the UN and government forces had probably managed to prevent thousands from being killed in Lou Nuer attacks on the cities of Pibor and Likuongole.

She said, though, that “we have to stop this spiral of violence in this area.” She said many people had fled into the bush but were on their way back to their villages.

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