LONDON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Leading human rights organizations expressed alarm over the situation in the Sudanese region, where ethnic violence and weapons in Darfur threaten the region.
Human Rights Watch called on authorities in South Sudan, which gained independence in July, to prosecute those responsible for ethnic violence in Jonglei state.
Peacekeepers in the region had said they were outnumbered by fighters from the Lou Nuer ethnic militia recently but were able to prevent the conflict from escalating. Ethnic conflict in Jonglei claimed at least 1,000 lives in recent months. The conflict was triggered by cattle raids and high bridal dowries. Most of the victims are women and children.
Daniel Bekele, director of Africa programs at Human Rights Watch, said the conflict was growing in severity.
"The conflict is far more vicious, involving the deliberate targeting of villagers, including women and children, for abuse and has taken on dangerous ethnic and political overtones," he said in a statement.
Amnesty International, in a 29-page report published Friday, said weapons shipments from China, Russia and Belarus means ongoing conflict in Darfur shows no signs of letting up.
"The main 'suite' of arms used in Darfur by all parties to the conflict has been supplied to Sudan by this key group of state suppliers almost every year since the U.N. Security Council imposed an U.N. arms embargo on Darfur on July, 30, 2004," the report read.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes in relation to the genocide in Darfur.