The South Sudan government and the main opposition rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), have traded accusations over the failure of the latest ceasefire, Uganda’s Daily Monitor reported on Tuesday.
The ceasefire which went into effect on Sunday was the latest failed attempt to end a devastating four-year war which erupted in 2013 after a fall out between President Salva Kiir and SPLA-IO leader in exile Dr Riek Machar.
In a statement Machar’s SPLA-IO accused government forces of launching an “aggressive attack” on their positions in the town of Bieh Payam in the north of the country, as well as positions in south-western Yei county.
“These are all acts against the peace process as the government in Juba wants the SPLA-IO to respond so that war continues and they continue to loot the resources of the country,” said the statement from SPLA-IO spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel.
However, government spokesman, Lul Ruai Koang, hit back denying the SPLA-IO’s version of events and accusing the rebels of “serious violations” of the ceasefire deal in other parts of the country.
He stated an administrative convoy that was trying to deliver food and salaries for Christmas in the southern Amadi state was ambushed by rebel fighters.
“We broke through the ambush and we were able to kill five rebel fighters,” said Koang.
He also accused the rebels of attacking military police in Aweil East, in the north-west of the country.
“We have not been engaging the rebels, we have been fighting all in our defensive positions and we also have been fighting whenever we are attacked on the roads.”
The agreement had outlined that all forces should “immediately freeze in their locations”, halt actions that could lead to confrontation and release political detainees as well as abducted women and children.
The ongoing violence in the world’s newest country has left tens of thousands of people dead, millions displaced and hundreds of thousands facing famine.
– African News Agency (ANA)