British official claims South Sudan violence amounts to tribal genocide

The UK secretary of state for international development has said that the violence in South Sudan amounted to genocide along tribal lines. Priti Patel's comments came after she visited the country earlier in April.

UK International Development Minister Priti Patel said Thursday that massacres were taking place across South Sudan as part of what she referred to as a "scorched earth policy."

Patel described the situation in South Sudan as "absolutely abhorrent and inhumane," highlighting that villages were being burned down, women were being raped and "people's throats (are) being slit."

"It's tribal, it's absolutely tribal, so on that basis it's genocide," Patel told reporters in Uganda.

International Development Minister Priti Patel made the scathing comments after a visit to South Sudan earlier in April

The minister also urged foreign leaders to do more to force the country's government to end the conflict in which tens of thousands of people have been killed. South Sudan, which broke away from Sudan in 2011, has been in a state of civil war since December 2013 following a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

Last month, the UN released a report saying that South Sudan was teetering on the edge of genocide and undergoing broad ethnic cleansing, being largely carried out government forces. The report emphasized that the country also faces a serious hunger crisis, with famine having been declared in two counties.

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