New fighting near South Sudan capital, violating cease-fire

2018-01-05 19:29

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Juba - South Sudan's warring sides are blaming each other for new fighting outside the capital that violates a recent cease-fire.

The fighting erupted on Thursday evening between government and opposition forces less than 20km outside Juba. The US Embassy on Friday issued a travel warning for staffers barring unofficial movements in the capital after 19:00 until on Monday morning.

Neither side made claims of deaths in the new fighting. The United States and others have warned against further violations of the December 24 cease-fire, which was broken within hours.

"Enough is enough," the US charge d'affaires in South Sudan, Michael K. Morrow, told the United Nations-operated Radio Miraya. He said the US was "actively" developing new tools to target those in South Sudan who get in the way of peace, following on recent sanctions.

South Sudan's civil war is now in its fifth year, with untold tens of thousands killed. The December agreement was an attempt to revive a 2015 peace agreement after negotiations mediated by a regional bloc. Another round of talks is set for early February in neighbouring Ethiopia, Morrow said.

South Sudan's army blamed the latest fighting on Lt Colonel Chan Garang, who defected to the opposition last year. Army spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang said the cease-fire "has never been respected" and called on the international community to hold the opposition accountable.

Opposition spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel said the government was just trying to justify its own violations.

One local nonprofit leader, Edmund Yakani, called the fighting "shameful for us South Sudanese."

In a statement, the executive director of the nonprofit Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation said that "our warring parties never care about the stability of the nation more than their struggle for control of power."

Read more on:    un  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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