Fresh fighting in South Sudan despite ceasefire

2014-11-10 16:21
South Sudan violence continues. (Fabio Bucciarelli, AFP)

South Sudan violence continues. (Fabio Bucciarelli, AFP)

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Juba - Fresh fighting has erupted in civil war-torn South Sudan, the government and rebels said Monday, with both sides blaming each other for violating a new ceasefire deal.

Reports of clashes in the oil-rich north and on several other fronts came just 48 hours after the country's arch-foes, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Rief Machar, wrapped up peace talks in Ethiopia and promised regional mediators they would immediately stop the war.

Rebel military spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang, however, accused government troops of having "launched co-ordinated attacks" in Unity and Upper Nile States, and said a rebel base in Jonglei State was also "under heavy shelling".

"The government is entirely responsible for these unnecessary attacks motivated by its desires and attempts to recapture oil fields under our control," he said in a statement.

Army spokesperson Philip Aguer confirmed there was fighting in Upper Nile State, but blamed the rebels for starting it.

"The battle continued for a few minutes and the attack was repelled", he told local radio.

Fighting in South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, started in December last year when Kiir accused his sacked deputy Machar of trying to stage a coup, with the violence broadening into an ethnic conflict involving several different armed groups.

The civil war has left tens of thousands dead, forced almost two million from their homes, pushed the country to the brink of famine and has been marked by widespread atrocities by both sides.

Kiir and Machar signed a ceasefire at the start of the year and several subsequent deals to renew it, but the truces have been short lived, with each side accusing the other and maintaining the right to fight in self-defence.

On Saturday the the East African regional bloc Igad, which has been trying to broker a peace deal, gave the pair just 15 days to finalise a transitional power-sharing accord and warned that yet another violation of the ceasefire would lead to sanctions including asset freezes, travel bans and an arms embargo.

The bloc has also threatened to "take the necessary measures to directly intervene in South Sudan to protect life and restore peace".

Read more on:    salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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