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South Sudanese warring parties exchange accusations of breaching ceasefire

South Sudan's army soldiers drive in a truck on the frontline in Panakuach, Unity state April 24, 2012. (Reuters Photo)
June 30, 2018 (JUBA) - With the start of the permanent ceasefire in South Sudan on Saturday, the warring parties traded accusations of attacks in Wau state.

The SPLM-IO deputy spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel issued a statement claiming that the government army on Saturday morning carried out an attack on their position in Mlboro, Wau State.

"The aggressors came from Wau and Aweil on 14 Land Cruisers, 3 Woral trucks and 4 APCs. This happened just hours after the ceasefire takes effect. The fight is still ongoing as I write," Gabriel said.

However, the South Sudanese army rejected the claim saying Mlboro has been under the control of the SPLA since 2016.

Further, the SPLA spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang issued a statement accusing the rebel SPLA-IO of launching a series of attacks across the country seeking "to gain more territories" before the ceasefire comes into effect.

Koang said in the early hours of June 30, 2018 the rebel fighters launched coordinated attacks on the SPLA’s positions in Southern Liech State, Northern Liech State; Northern Upper Nile State, and Yei River State.

The government army "repulsed all the attacks and remained in their defensive positions in compliance with the permanent ceasefire agreement;" he further said.

Also, the South Sudanese government released audio recordings of four telephone conversations allegedly between rebel commanders to capture Buaw area in Northern Liech State before the ceasefire.

For his part, SPLA-IO deputy spokesperson Gabriel said the Leer-based government forces on Friday attacked their position in Rubkuay in order to reach "Koch County where they want to control Koch border through Thaker Payam".

The two military spokespersons called on the ceasefire mechanism to investigate the attacks.

The head of the UN operation in South Sudan David Shearer told reporters Saturday that they "haven’t got details of how the ceasefire will play out, exactly how the mechanisms for monitoring the ceasefire will occur".

He said confident that the monitoring body, the CTSAMM, can do the job and pointed they provide all the needed logistical support to the ceasefire observers to reach their locations and host them in the UNMISS sites.

"But we would envisage CTSAMM being the main mechanism for monitoring the ceasefire and ensuring that once it is being monitored that any culprits or any breakers of the ceasefire are named and announced," he stressed.

(ST)