JUBA, March 14 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan's army on Thursday launched an action plan to contain rampant sexual violence that has worsened after more than five years of a civil war in Africa's youngest nation.
Gabriel Jok Riak, chief of general staff of the South Sudan People's Defense Forces, said the army is committed to ending rampant cases of sexual violence committed by its forces, which is one of the agreements President Salva Kiir reached with the United Nations.
Riak said the policy framework to end the crimes of sexual and gender-based violence must be implemented as an honor to the country's leadership.
"Allow me to reiterate that South Sudan People's Defense Forces has zero tolerance on conflict-related sexual violence. The provision is clearly enshrined in the international, regional and domestic legal obligation binding the army to remain committed to conducting remote investigation into all the allegations of sexual violence carried out by the armed forces and prosecute alleged perpetrators," he told journalists in Juba.
A UN report released in February indicated that at least 134 women and girls were raped between September and December 2018, including some as young as eight years old.