National
S.Sudan rebels launch new offensive despite truce
Publish Date: Jul 21, 2014
S.Sudan rebels launch new offensive despite truce
South Sudanese rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar(centre) attends an interview (AFP Photo)
  • mail
  • img
newvision

JUBA - South Sudanese rebels launched an offensive to retake a key town near the border with Ethiopia on Sunday in what the United Nations said was a clear violation of a truce agreement.

"This attack represents the most serious resumption of hostilities" since President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, rebel leader Riek Machar, met in May and recommitted to a January ceasefire, the UN mission said in a statement.

The fighters loyal to Machar struck Nasir, their former headquarters, located 500 kilometres north of Juba and close to Ethiopia, which was retaken by government forces in May.

UNMISS, the UN mission, laid the blame squarely for the renewed fighting with Machar's forces. "The attack is a clear violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement," it said.

But a spokesman for Machar's forces, Lul Kuang, defended their moves as an act of "self-defence" after what he described as several government attempts to arrest their military commander.

"The fall of Nasir now paves the way for military resources to be refocused on Poloich Oil Fields, Maban and Malakal", Kuang said in a statement, referring to the main remaining oil field still in activity.

South Sudanese army spokesman Philip Aguer denied Nasir had fallen, describing fighting as "still ongoing".

Aguer said army forces had staged nine offensives on Nasir on Sunday.

Only days earlier mediators had pressed the rival sides to resume peace talks being held in Ethiopia, or face increased sanctions.

Those talks, moderated by the East African bloc IGAD, are designed to lead to a transitional government but have yielded little progress so far.

"It is deplorable that this major attack comes at a time when intensive efforts are under way by mediators of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to convince all parties to resume the suspended peace talks in Addis Ababa," UNMISS acting head Raisedon Zenenga said in the statement.

South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, marked only the third anniversary of its independence this month under the shroud of a war which has enflamed ethnic hatred and brought its people to the brink of famine.

The conflict has raged since mid-December when presidential guards loyal to Kiir clashed with troops supporting Machar, who fled to the bush and rallied a huge rebel army.

An estimated 1.5 million people have been displaced and thousands killed, including civilians massacred indiscriminately in hospitals and churches and dumped in mass graves.

The last UN head lambasted both sides in the South Sudanese conflict on her way out of the country earlier this month, saying they were causing a "man-made famine".

Analysts say both sides believe the war is still winnable by force.

Fighting had abated since May in part due to heavy rains and poor roads that hampered troop and equipment movements.

AFP


Also related to this story

Rebels declare month of peace

Rebel leader says 'committed to peace'

South Sudan rebel chief promises to end war

Riek Machar vows to take key oil fields, capital

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
President Yoweri Museveni has held discussions with the SPLA in opposition team led by Gen. Alfred Lado Gore over peace efforts in South Sudan.The meeting that was arranged by the Uganda Peace Support team set up to broker peace talks in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan....
MPs demand dialogue with S Sudan over border conflict
A parliamentary fact finding mission on the border conflict between Uganda and South Sudan has recommended that Government urgently conducts open dialogue with its neighbor to harmonise the issues at stake....
Learn to save and spend less, Ugandans told
Ugandan-Asian investor in real estate, Miraj Barot of Tirupati Development has challenged youth to learn how to save and spend less if they are to succeed in business....
EALA Speaker suspension: Uganda to intervene
Uganda is studying the circumstances under which East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker, Margaret Zziwa, was suspended by members....
Protester loses fingers to tear gas
A man from Mayuge district has lost fingers on his right hand after a tear gas canister reportedly exploded in his hands.Local police say Gaster Ibinga picked up a tear gas canister that was hurled at fishermen who were rioting at Busuyi landing site, and tried to throw it back at the police....
Ncube tips media on technologies
Media entrepreneur, Trevor Ncube and owner of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper has tipped Ugandan media to come up with s that use technology to improve delivery of news and information....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter