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Peace monitors condemn surge in violence in S. Sudan

April 28 (JUBA) - South Sudan peace monitoring body Saturday condemned the increase of fighting in the troubled east-African country and the kidnapping of aid workers in clear violation of the two signed deals between the warring parties.

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JMEC Chairman, Festus Mogae, briefs the UN Security Council, on the implementation of the peace agreement on 31 March 2016 (ST Photo)

"The surge in violence and fighting in Unity, Jonglei and Central Equatoria and the detainment of ten humanitarian aid workers are unacceptable violations of the 2015 Peace Agreement and the 2017 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access," said the Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (JMEC).

The JMEC statement comes 24 hours after a statement by the head of UN peacekeeping mission who decried the resumption of clashes in different parties of South Sudan and denounced it negative impact on civilians.

“Our teams on the ground are reporting incidents of killing, sexual violence, homes being burnt to the ground, cattle raiding, and the looting of hospitals and schools," said UNMISS chief David Shearer.

The monitors also pointed to the important influx of internally displaced persons caused by the fresh fighting in the three regions but abstained from condemning this or that party before to probe the attacks.

The monitoring body "Therefore has asked CTSAMM to undertake the necessary investigation as stipulated in the 2017 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access (ACoH)," said JMEC.

The surge in violence occurs as the peace mediation team further delayed the resumption of the peace talks due to the significant gaps in the position of the parties over the security arrangements and governance.

Juba accuses the opposition groups of planning to overthrow the regime while the latter accuse the government of President Salva Kiir of seeking to dictate its conditions and refusing a genuine peace paving the way for justice and democratic reforms.

The monitoring body condemned the kidnapping of ten aid workers around Yei town in Central Equatoria

"JMEC condemns this latest violation of the two-signed Agreements, which demand unimpeded access for humanitarian aid workers in South Sudan," said the statement.

It further urged the quick and unconditional release of the aid workers.

(ST)