Mass graves found in South Sudan, U.N. rights chief says

GENEVA Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:05am EST

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GENEVA Dec 24 (Reuters) - A mass grave containing some 75 bodies has been found in South Sudan's Unity State and two other mass graves have been reported in Juba after ethnic violence, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on both sides to protect civilians and warned that political and military leaders could be held to account for crimes.

"Mass extrajudicial killings, the targeting of individuals on the basis of their ethnicity and arbitrary detentions have been documented in recent days," Pillay said in a statement. "We have discovered a mass grave in Bentiu, in Unity State, and there are reportedly at least two other mass graves in Juba."

Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said that the bodies of 75 soldiers of the Sudan People's Liberation Army were believed to be in the mass grave in Bentiu visited by U.N. rights officers. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams)

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