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South Sudan rebel group accuses army of multiple attacks

December 15, 2019 (JUBA) – The National Salvation Front (NAS), an hold-out armed group in South Sudan, has accused pro-government troops of attacking its positions in parts of Yei River State.

Exiled South Sudanese rebel general Thomas Cirillo poses for a photograph inside his hotel room in Addis Ababa, on April 17, 2017 (Reuters photo)

In a statement issued on Monday, NAS claimed the South Sudan army (SSPDF) attacked its positions in Lasu payam and Mitika areas on Friday, in violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

“The attack continued for the last two days in which the NAS gallant forces fought back in self-defence and repulsed the attackers,” said NAS spokesperson, Suba Samuel Manase.

He said 19 SSPDF soldiers were killed and ammunition captured by NAS, claims which Sudan Tribune could not independently verify.

In a separate incident, NAS also claimed pro-government forces killed six civilians, including two motorists travelling on Yei Lainya road.

The hold-out armed group has, however, vowed to defend its positions as well as civilians currently living in areas under its control.

“NAS is committed to the Cessations of Hostilities (CoHA), signed in December 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; however it reserves the right to self-defence,” said Manase.

The SSPDF has not yet officially responded to allegations from the rebel movement.

South Sudan descended into civil war in mid-December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup, allegations the latter denied.

In September last year, the country’s rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.