South Sudan army, rebels trade accusations over violation of ceasefire

Monday August 31 2015

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (left) and rebel leader Riek Machar. They are expected to form a coalition government in the new peace deal. PHOTO | SAMIR BOL | ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER | AFP

The South Sudanese government and the rebels are accusing each other of breaking a ceasefire less than a week after the signing of a peace agreement.

Rebel leader Dr Riek Machar is accusing the government troops of provoking his soldiers in order to break the newly agreed ceasefire, which both parties declared, that began on Saturday midnight.

Dr Machar alleges that an army convoy of river barges attacked their positions along the White Nile river.  He also claims that the government troops have shelled their position in Ditang, Bukieny, Obuwa and Lelo in Upper Nile State.

But South Sudanese military spokesman Philip Aguer, instead accused the rebel forces  of carrying out attacks on their positions in Malakal in order to gain more territories to use as assembly points when the peace deal is implemented.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) peace monitors have promised to investigate the claims from both sides.

According to the deal, guns were supposed to fall silent 72 hours after President Salva Kiir signed the deal on August 26.


READ: Fresh hopes as Kiir, Machar agree to silence guns

In the meantime, a group of rebels, who defected from Dr Machar’s group, and now calling itself Federal Democratic Party (FDP) has rejected the recently signed peace deal.

The group lead by Gabriel Changson Chang, is calling upon Igad to adopt a new strategy in the peace process on grounds that a lasting peace to South Sudan can only come when all parties and stakeholders in the conflict are included in the deal.

Mr Chang said in a statement that his group does not believe that President Kiir and Dr Machar will be able to work together after failing to gain trust despite working for eight years in the same government.