Middle East

South Sudanese forces blamed for torching thousands of homes

  • FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, women stand outside a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) site distributing soap, blankets, and other items in Yei, in southern South Sudan. Government troops burned thousands of civilians' homes in the Yei region late last year, monitors of the country's troubled peace agreement said Friday, March 31, 2017 making some of the strongest allegations yet against security forces in the three-year civil war. (AP Photo/Justin Lynch, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, women stand outside a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) site distributing soap, blankets, and other items in Yei, in southern South Sudan. Government troops burned thousands of civilians' homes in the Yei region late last year, monitors of the country's troubled peace agreement said Friday, March 31, 2017 making some of the strongest allegations yet against security forces in the three-year civil war. (AP Photo/Justin Lynch, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 file photo, students line up outside a classroom with a map of Africa on its wall, in Yei, in southern South Sudan. Government troops burned thousands of civilians' homes in the Yei region late last year, monitors of the country's troubled peace agreement said Friday, March 31, 2017 making some of the strongest allegations yet against security forces in the three-year civil war. (AP Photo/Justin Lynch, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 file photo, students line up outside a classroom with a map of Africa on its wall, in Yei, in southern South Sudan. Government troops burned thousands of civilians' homes in the Yei region late last year, monitors of the country's troubled peace agreement said Friday, March 31, 2017 making some of the strongest allegations yet against security forces in the three-year civil war. (AP Photo/Justin Lynch, File)  (The Associated Press)

Monitors of South Sudan's troubled peace agreement say government troops burned thousands of civilians' homes late last year amid the country's three-year civil war.

Friday's report levels some of the strongest allegations yet against security forces in the conflict.

The report says three villages in the southern Yei region visited by investigators had been abandoned and destroyed. A visit to Yei in November led the U.N. special adviser on genocide to warn that South Sudan could slip into genocide.

The new report says government forces denied U.N. officials and investigators access to one Yei village, and government officials blamed rebels for the homes' destruction. Investigators found that unlikely.

Satellite data from Amnesty International shows about 2,000 structures were destroyed along a highway near Yei between late December and January.