S SUDAN: Rebels, Army Trade Blames over Attacks

JUBA AUGUST 28, 2015 (CISA) – South Sudanese rebels and the army have for the second time in a week accused each other of attacks, barely a day after President Salva Kiir signed a peace deal.

Former Vice President Riek Machar said that South Sudanese government troops had attacked towns held by the rebels, reported Reuters.

“The government offensive against the SPLM/SPLA (rebels) is continuing unabated despite Salva Kiir signing the Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan,” Machar said.

“We are wondering whether the government is genuine on signing the agreement. We condemn the regime’s continued offensive in the strongest possible terms.”

Army spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer, however rejected the claims and said it was the rebels who had attacked the government soldiers.

“On Wednesday it was the rebels attacking the SPLA in Nhialdiu and the SPLA repulsed them. There are casualties but we don’t have the details up to now,” he said adding. “Definitely, the army command will implement the government policy and we will only fight in self-defense if the rebels attack our positions.”

On August 26, President Kiir signed a peace deal expected to end a 20-month conflict but he told regional African leaders at the ceremony that he still had “serious reservations.”

“With all those reservations that we have, we will sign this document,” he said before signing the agreement. Machar who is expected to become the country’s First Vice President under the deal, signed the document last week in Addis Ababa.

The United States had proposed a United Nations arms embargo and more sanctions from September 6 unless the pact was signed by the 15-day deadline given to President Kiir last week.

According to the UN, thousands of people have been killed and about two million others have fled their homes since the conflict erupted in December 2013 following a power struggle between the two leaders.

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