Displaced people walk next to a razor wire fence at the United Nations base in the capital Juba.
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The rapes in the capital of Juba highlighted two persistent problems in the chaotic country engulfed by civil war: targeted ethnic violence and the reluctance by U.N. peacekeepers to protect civilians.At least one assault occurred as peacekeepers watched, witnesses told the Associated Press during a visit to the camp.On July 17, two armed soldiers in uniform dragged away a woman who was less than a few hundred meters from the U.N. camp's western gate while armed peacekeepers on foot, in an armored vehicle and in a watchtower looked on. A spokeswoman for the U.N. mission, Shantal Persaud, did not dispute that rapes took place close to the camp. She did not immediately address why peacekeepers didn't act to prevent the rapes, saying she was looking into the issue.The number of rapes that took place outside the U.N. camp was unclear.Civilian leaders in the U.N. camp have given estimates ranging from 27 to over 70 rapes from the time that women started venturing out for food.Witnesses and aid workers accuse the armed U.N. peacekeepers, who are mandated to protect civilians with lethal force if necessary, of failing to act.
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