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DESPITE some cautious optimism around a new peace agreement, civilians are still far from safe in South Sudan.
Aid groups say more than 150 women and girls were raped, beaten, and brutalised over a 10-day period at the end of November. Armed men, many in uniform, carried out the abhorrent attacks near the city of Bentiu, the UN said.
Mdecins Sans Frontires, which provided emergency medical care to survivors, expressed deep concerns. Some are girls under 10 years old and others are women older than 65. Even pregnant women have not been spared from these brutal attacks, said MSF midwife Ruth Okello.
Since the war began in 2013, South Sudan has seen horrific levels of sexual violence. In the first half of 2018, 2,300 cases were reported; more than 20% of victims were children, the UN said.