July 21, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan on Monday accused some of its neighbours of allegedly supporting opposition forces fighting the Juba government.
- Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) soldiers at Jonglei’s Bor airport in after they re-captured the town from rebel forces in January 2014 (AFP)
The army chief of general staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, said there were some “unusual” movements within South Sudan’s borders, but declined to name countries allegedly involved in dealing with the rebels.
“We have not reach that level of pointing figures but where they get ammunition and new guns?” Awan said.
“I believe that something unusual is happening,” added the army chief who maintained that government forces fully controlled Nasir, a strategic Upper Nile state town claimed by both sides on Sunday.
The rebels, Awan said, left Nasir heading for the northern border near Sudan’s Blue Nile state.
The governor of Upper Nile, Simon Kun Puoc also claimed government forces were in “full control” of Nasir, despite opposition forces insisting they man the strategically located town.
“Our forces are in full control of Nasir. The rebels have been flushed out this morning,” Puoc, told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
He said rival forces attacked the town with mortars for two days and penetrated some of its parts Sunday morning before they driven out by government forces using heavy machine guns.
The United Nations, however, said most parts of Nasir appears to be under the control of opposition forces, apart from South Sudanese army (SPLA) barracks, located west of the town.
COMMITTED TO CEASEFIRE
The top army officer, however, said government forces were fully committed to observing ceasefire with rebels as agreed upon by both rival leaders in an effort to end the seven-month old conflict.
“We will remain committed because it a valid document (cessation of hostilities agreement) signed by leadership of this country,” he said.
Both sides have been accused of repeatedly violating the ceasefire, which was signed in January and re-committed to four months later in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating talks between the two parties, condemned Sunday’s attack by opposition forces on Nasir and called it a violation of the ceasefire.
In a related development, the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon expressed deep concerns over the attack urging Machar to cease immediately all offensive operations on Nasir and other points.
He further called on South Sudan government to desist from launching a counter-offensive.
The two parties “should stop the violence immediately, reconvene political negotiations and demonstrate the political will necessary to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict”.