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Heavy fighting breaks out in South Sudan as sanctions loom

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August 15, 2014 (JUBA) – Heavy fighting erupted on Friday between South Sudan army (SPLA) and rebels in Unity state, with the latter accusing pro-government forces of attacking their positions in violation of the ceasefire agreement.

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South Sudanese rebel troops loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar stand on guard in Unity state capital Bentiu on 12 January 2014 after recapturing the strategic town from government troops (Photo: Reuters)

The rebel spokesperson, Peter Riek Gew told Sudan Tribune that fighting started at dawn in Guit, Kaljak and Kuergueyni areas of the oil-rich state.

"We surprised this morning when the SPLA attacked three of our position in Unity state. This is a very clear signal that the government was not committed to the peace talks," Gew said by satellite phone.

"The battle is now around the main capital, Bentiu pushing the SPLA troops away from three attacks on our position this morning to Maan Kuach, 3 km west of Bhar main military barrack in Rubkotna county and Thowmangor, [located] 4 km south of Bentiu town," he added.

The rebel spokesman accused government troops of mistreating innocent civilians in its controlled areas, an allegation Sudan Tribune could not independently verify.

"We are ready to fight them if this is their plan to attack us. Meanwhile our leaders are currently engaged in peace," he stressed.

The rebel military spokesperson, Brig. Gen Lul Ruai Koang further claimed the “long awaited” government offensive operations against rebels had started east and south of Bentiu as well as around Ayod in Unity and Jonglei states respectively begun at dawn.

“This is totally unacceptable development and the blame squarely lies at the [president Salva] Kiir’s door steps,” he said in a statement issued Friday.

The two warring parties have repeatedly traded accusations of violating the ceasefire agreement signed on 23 January and re-committed to on 9 May in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The South Sudanese army spokesperson was not readily available for a comment.

NO MILITARY SOLUTION

On Tuesday, Samantha Power, the United States special envoy to the United Nations said the Security Council was concerned over reports that arms were being brought in to South Sudan, stressing that there was no military solution to the young nation’s conflict.

“The council has made it very clear that it is prepared to impose consequences if there continue to be spoilers, if there continue to be people carrying out gross violations of human rights, United states ambassador to the united nations,” said Samantha.

“We will not tolerate violation of the cessation of hostilities and people who spoils peace agreement. We have delivered that message here and we will deliver it to Riek Machar,” she stressed.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry on Monday accused both sides of failing to commit to the peace process, a day after they failed to meet the 60-days ultimatum to form a transitional government.

(ST)

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  • 15 August 08:51, by Mi diit

    I know the government would go on offensive against the rebels. That lazy minded John Kerry of US gave Kiir a blank cheque and license to kill when he received him in Washington with open arms. Kiir thought he was blessed to kill more. Now what will these IGAD puppets do seeing Nyankiir Museveni messing up again? Now they have lost Bentiu to rebels. Bentiu oyeeeeee…

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    • 15 August 09:28, by Ayom Ayom

      what a serious a fight over the control of Bentiu Town, It’s look like rebels want to make their way to Bentiu, while government forces still firm, try to repulse the heavy attack from the rebels. IGAD are washing and laughing

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      • 15 August 10:21, by Ayom Ayom

        I think this will be the last rebel major offensive against government forces in various front line

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        • 15 August 11:54, by michael coma

          Ayom Ayom

          Rebels are also fighting themselves at Nassir.Chielang white army from Jikany and Lou white army are fighting each other.Bashir has helped Machar with army when the two agreed about the oil issue not to be blow out by rebels.Bashir told Riek that if you are not going to attack oil field,i will give you some troops that will liberate Bentiu.

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          • 15 August 12:15, by Malakal county Simon

            Michael comma

            Don’t listen to that attention seeker called Gordon Buay, he is employed to create liars and to confused people’s simple as that !!!!!!

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      • 15 August 15:27, by Realist

        Well, it seems like the most common pretext of violating peace agreement in S. Sudan became something like this: "our positions were attacked. We repulsed the enemy and captured their nearest stronghold". I really wonder if the international community buy into these excuses.

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    • 15 August 09:36, by angunliach

      MiDiit, why did u kill your brothers and sisters in unity, jonglei and makal state? your writings since last year have contributed to this rebellion, thousands have died and u need more to die again, now am warning u to talk peace rather than war. rebels are losing all grounds, at igad peace talk and battle, u better realize this and stop inciting your nuer mates or tribe men for war.

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      • 15 August 18:18, by Mi diit

        Don’t worry, soon the will shift to your states in Bahr el Ghazal.

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  • 15 August 08:52, by Sir King

    Peace talks will never be successful because among the leaders of IGAD, there is Yoweri Museveni, a person with interest in the government of South Sudan and he is now bringing his troops and still now fighting against rebels of South Sudan. How can you expect such a person to media if you are not all mad?

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    • 15 August 08:54, by Sir King

      I mean to mediate.

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    • 15 August 08:57, by Ayom Ayom

      I think Rebels need to get prepare for their exist strategy, the resolution which was past by the IGAD in Nairobi as well as by UNSC is for discouraging and putting an end the rebellion in South Sudan.

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  • 15 August 09:21, by Guandong

    Government is the one to be blamed bcoz they were the one beating the renewal of war such that they brought in new weapon from China for test.
    I pray if Rebels would defeat them n captured the town.
    Rebels has right right to depent herselves n civilian.
    There is no peace ppl could bothering themselves about since government has violated all CoH. why not UPDF to withdraw as a demand of CoH?

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  • 15 August 09:22, by Martin

    Rebels, the monitors are on the ground, stop talking shit, they will know who attack who. Rebellion will never and shall never stop in South Sudan until the IGAD and international communities cooperate to defeat anyone who want take leadership by force.

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  • 15 August 09:55, by Machiek

    Lul Ruan, I heard u screaming just like a woman I thought it shdn’t be u. But someone told me da u harvested the fruits of humiliation, defeat & loss, & has no options but opted to run to the bushes without turning back for anything & retreated be4 expected. Now ur life is better in the bush da is were the traitors re supposed to be. Ha ha ha. ...The second vice position is still waiting!

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    • 15 August 10:09, by Gangura

      Breaking News rebels are in control of Bentiu after Kirr forces tried to attacked our based and soon we the rebels will start advancing towards Juba where Kirr is basing, we are tired of this nosense, fighting starts in the morning we have killed almost 150 SPLA soldiers.

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      • 15 August 10:41, by Malakal county Simon

        This is a good indicator, that kiir crumble government is not serious to make peace with Dr Machar SPLM Faction.... Both IGAD and International should condemn Kiir crumble government in the strongest term for its constantly breaching cessation of hostility since January!!

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      • 15 August 12:23, by Malakal county Simon

        Congratulation to Freedom fighters!!!!!! Both Bentui and Ayod captured...... Blame it on pro-government forces for being violators to the cessation of hostility all the the time.

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  • 15 August 11:16, by Marco Bul

    These rebels are playing children game.
    They are quick to report blames on the gov’t YET they are the violators.
    Captured or not captured towns,the truth will come to light.
    Let there be war.

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  • 15 August 16:15, by Kim Deng

    This Jungle (South Sudan) must be burned down to ashes rather than being called "Dinka Kingdom."

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  • 15 August 16:22, by Kim Deng

    Jaang,

    Don’t mess up with the Mighty Nuer Warriors, otehrwise you will no enjoy peace in this Jungle (South Sudan), which you want to call "Dinka Kingdom."

    https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/breaking-fighting-near-bentiu-unity-and-ayod-jonglei

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  • 15 August 16:27, by Kim Deng

    I have been seeing dead Jaang walking in Nuerland (Bentiu, Mayom, Ayod, and Nasir).

    http://upperniletimes.net/details.php?id=879

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  • 15 August 16:28, by Kim Deng

    I have been seeing dead Jaang walking in Nuerland (Bentiu, Mayom, Ayod, and Nasir).

    http://upperniletimes.net/details.php?id=879

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    • 15 August 16:58, by Malakal county Simon

      Kim Deng!! Gat ramiran,

      I myself 100% I greed with you that we as Freedom Fighters, to be under foolish president Kiir again, is a big No...... We better dies all than to make peace with murdered president to lead us again!!!!!!

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  • 16 August 03:19, by Dinka-Defender-General

    Hello everyone, I just had rebels captured Bentiu and Ayod. Is this news true or just propaganda? I had this news from Machar supporter and that’s why I don’t true the source. Machar is still cause a lot of problems. He and his groups must go...

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