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South Sudanese rebels accuse government of renewed hostilities

November 27, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese rebel group led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar, have accused government troops loyal to president Salva Kiir of allegedly attacking their positions in Fangak county in Jonglei state.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) at Jonglei’s Bor airport in January 2014 (AFP)

The attacks according to the rebels’ military spokesman, Brig Lul Ruai Koang, began on Wednesday, 26 November, and fighting was continuing.

“Kiir’s genocidal forces commanded by Brig. Gen. John Maluit Wei today renewed hostilities against our combat units by launching simultaneous attacks on several defensive positions which included; Pachot, Maan-Nyang, Thak En Char, Dor and Biel,” Brig Koang said in a statement seen by Sudan Tribune.

“Phom El Zaref, the Administrative HQs of Fangak county in northern Jonglei state also came under heavy shelling for the second consecutive day from Uluak on western bank of the White Nile in Panyikang County, Upper Nile,” he added.

Koang however said that the rebel forces under overall command of Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tangiye repulsed all the attackers to Canal.

Other local sources on the ground however told Sudan Tribune that the town had fallen under the full control of the government troops.

The opposition spokesperson accused the government of renewing the hostilities, saying the attacks once again demonstrated government’s belief in military option and lack of commitment to peaceful resolution of the 11-month old conflict.

The attacks come weeks after monitors from the warring parties attended a joint workshop on operationalisation of the Matrix on Cessation of Hostilities agreement signed in January 2014.

“It seems the attacks were aimed at demoralising delegates and spoiling the would be conducive atmosphere of much anticipated SPLM/SPLA Consultative meeting with theme: “in search of Sustainable Peace and Good Governance” due to be held in South Sudan in the next few days,” Koang further explained.

He said the SPLA (opposition) reiterated its commitment to all agreements signed by the political leadership but “reserves the right to fight in self-defence in the face of continued and unprovoked attacks.”

He did not say whether there were casualties in the recent clashes.