July 22, 2014 (JUBA) – Authorities in South Sudan’s Jonglei state on Tuesday accused rebels of launching attacks on Ayod town so as to gain its control from pro-government forces.
- Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA)
“They [rebels] attacked Ayod this [Tuesday] morning but were repulsed by SPLA,” Judy Jonglei, the state information minister told Sudan Tribune by phone.
“This is a total violation the ceasefire,” he added.
Gordon Buay, a member of other armed groups integration committee, said the rebels violated the agreed ceasefire by attacking Ayod town Tuesday morning.
"The attackers were white army commanded by renegade Duop Lam, former minister of law enforcement in Jonglei state from 2009 to December, 15, 2013", Buay said in a statement.
"The SPLA forces repulsed the attack within one hour and inflicted heavy casualties on the marauding White Army. The SPLA forces, after conducting searches, found 64 dead bodies of the rebels most of whom are young boys below the ages of 18", he further claimed.
The rebel military spokesperson, Brig. Gen Lul Ruai Koang was not available for a comment.
On Sunday, rebels claimed they had recaptured Nasir, a strategic Upper Nile town, amidst government assertion that it fully controlled the region. The United Nations, however, said on Tuesday that most parts of Nasir appeared to be under the control of opposition forces, apart from the SPLA barracks, which is located west of the town.
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 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 opposition leader Riek 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”.