Four South Sudanese soldiers were arrested for their role in the gang rape of a dozen women and girls in a village in February, the government spokesman said on Friday.
The violence took place in the village of Kubi, some 40 km south of the capital Juba, where the army sought possible suspects in the murder of a general by unidentified gunmen.
According to local media reports, the soldiers reportedly tortured and raped at least 11 women, including a 13-year-old girl.
“An investigation was conducted and four officers of the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) were arrested,” army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said.
One of the four arrested soldiers commanded the group but he did not participate in the rape and will not be tried for this count.
Another soldier had been arrested for the same acts, but managed to escape from the prison in which he was detained.
According to Mr. Ruai, the three soldiers accused of rape were identified by the victims and confessed the crimes.
In defense, two of them explained that they were drunk at the time of the events, and the latter vowed to be deceived by the devil.
“We assure our fellow citizens that the SPLA will do its best to ensure that unruly soldiers are punished for the crimes they have committed,” Ruai added.
President Salva Kiir’s troops and their allied militias have been accused of ethnic killings, rape, sexual slavery, looting and forced recruitment of child soldiers since the start of the December 2013.
The rebel forces, under the orders of former Vice-President Riek Machar, also face the same charges.
South Sudan has been plunged in a civil war since December 2013 that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and left more than 3 million people displaced.