August 6, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government has accused rebels allied to former vice-president Riek Machar of attacking Lakes state’s Yirol area.
Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told reporters in his office in the capital, Juba, that rebels had launched an offensive in violation of a ceasefire agreement signed in January and recommitted to in May by the two warring parties.
Ateny said that rebels had looted cattle and other livestock, with a number of civilians injured during the attack, without providing further details.
“So as we speak peace in Addis Ababa, the rebels continue to violate the ceasefire. They are on offensive,” he said, referring to the latest round of peace talks, which got underway in the Ethiopian capital on Monday.
The rebel delegation failed to attend talks on Tuesday, demanding that negotiations be restricted to the two parties directly involved in the conflict and that other stakeholders, including former political detainees, faith-based groups and civil society organisations should have only limited involvement.
Ateny said the rebel faction’s shifting position demonstrates a lack of seriousness to engage in meaningful dialogue.
“The pulling out of the rebel delegation yesterday (Tuesday) was disappointing,” he said. “I believe now the whole world has seen the type of the rebellion that is dealing with the government of South Sudan.”
The government delegation has been dispatched with a clear mandate not to return to Juba empty handed, however, Ateny said reaching any final peace agreement would be dependent on the level of engagement of the opposition group.
“It was the rebels’ demand for inclusive talks that has led to mediators pressuring the government to accept all stakeholders in the talks. They are now coming back to our position. This is the position that the government was in January,” Ateny said, speaking to reporters at the presidential office.
“[The] rebels were one of the people who were telling the whole world that the government was not serious. Now the world is seeing them. They are a spoiled child of the international community,” he added.