August 13, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese rebels led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar have accused president Salva Kiir’s government of violating the cessation of hostilities agreement and planting landmines in the Greater Upper Nile region.
In press release issued on Wednesday seen by Sudan Tribune, rebels military spokesperson Brig Lul Ruai Koang claimed that the South Sudanese army continued to violate the ceasefire deal in areas of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states.
“The Government of South Sudan have continued to violate the Cessation of Hostilities agreement on daily basis in Unity State in particular, and this has been manifested by attacks and occupation of relief centres in Nhialdiu in Rupkoni County and Guit County even during the distribution of relief items to the displaced,” Koang said.
He said government forces had been carrying out indiscriminate shelling of villages surrounding Bentiu town which resulted in the killing of civilians.
“The latest violation was committed on 12 August when the government forces attacked our positions at Kal-Jak, Maan-Kuach and Thoan military outposts in Rupkoni and Guit counties respectively,” he said.
Similar violations targeting civilians, he said, were being committed in the presence of international forces and monitors in Nasir and Ayod counties in Upper Nile and Jonglei states respectively.
“Our forces will no longer condone such acts of aggression against civilian targets by Salva troops and would exercise the right to defend civilians in areas under our control as well as act in self-defence when attacked.”
ARMY PLANTING LANDMINES
Koang further accused government forces of planting landmines along routes used by civilians who escape from the fighting.
“In a move contrary to international conventions banning the use of all types of land mines against civilians, the government forces have been laying anti-personnel land mines on routes used by civilians,” he said.
He further explained that most of the land mines have been planted on routes used by civilians to escape to neighbouring Republic of Sudan with Bentiu-Manga- Heglig roads being the heavily mined routes.
He said ,any innocent civilians, including women, children and the elderly, had lost their lives, after falling victim to the landmines.
The two warring parties signed a cessation of hostilities agreement on 23 January, but since then both sides have accused each other of committing violations.
A peace process mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to try to end the nearly eight months old war is underway in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.