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South Sudan army accuses rebels of violating ceasefire

July 25, 2019 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s army spokesperson, Lul Ruai Koang has confirmed Tuesday’s clashes with the National Salvation Front (NAS) rebels, but accused the holdout group of attacking its positions in the latest violation of the ceasefire by the two factions.

Gen Lul Ruai Koang (ST photo)

“They attacked our position at Karpeta near Lobonok. Our forces returned fire and dropped back the attackers. On Tuesday, our Recce Platoon discovered NAS’s hideout at Paya and dislodged them,” Koang said in a statement extended Sudan Tribune Thursday.

He said there were no reports of casualties on both sides.

The rebel group, in a statement on Tuesday, accused government forces and its allied militias of attacking their troops at Karpeta.

The attack, it said, occurred at approximately 7:30am local time.

“NAS forces fought back heroically in self-defense and repulsed the attackers, forcing them to retreat in disarray with NAS forces following them in hot pursuit,” partly reads the statement from NAS.

The rebel group claimed they killed eight “enemy” soldiers and captured at least three AK-47 rifles from its rivals after the attack.

The Thomas Cirillo-led rebel group, however, vowed to defend their positions should they come under attack from the “enemy” forces.

In September last year, South Sudan’s warring factions signed a revitalized peace agreement to end the country’s civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million.

NAS, in May, renewed calls for an inclusive process instead of injunctions to join the revitalized peace deal which it refused to sign.

The non-signatory group fighting South Sudan military in Equatoria region has held several meetings with mediators from the regional bloc (IGAD), which has refused to open the accord for negotiations.

The mediators say they are only ready to only discuss the modalities of rejoining the revitalized peace accord and its implementation.

In May, South Sudan’s rival parties agreed on a six-month extension to implement next steps in the fragile peace agreement. The latest extension came after the main opposition group threatened to boycott formation of a unity government on May 12.