South Sudan

SPLA Takes Bentiu amid Ceasefire Breach

generic geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>On Sunday, what is ed the rebel spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang accused government troops of launching attacks on their defensive positions with heavy artillery in Upper Nile State at Kaldak, Canal, Wei-Mabor, Khor-Fulus and Phom El Zaraf.

In a new statement, Brig Gen Koang says “for second consecutive day, few government troops supported by JEM, SPLA-North, Janjaweed, SLA-Mannawi, SLA-Abdall-Wahid fighters and SSLA/M militias continued to violate Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan by recapturing Benitu, capital of oil producing Unity State”.

“The enemy forces that have re-occupied the area are currently conducting indiscriminate, intensive and extensive shelling of surrounding villages with heavy artillery and other combat support weapons.”

According to rebels, the recapturing of Bentiu comes at a time when commanders from SPLA (Opposition) and military officers from the government are busy developing Implementation Modalities for the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement Matrix.

“It’s regrettable that Kiir’s government is working tirelessly to undermine efforts being exerted by its officers, Guarantor of the Agreement, IGAD, Troika and other stakeholders.”


They further accuse Kiir of “acting with impunity because he thinks and beliefs that the regional and international bodies working to restore peace in the country lack enforcement mechanisms, will, capacity and ability to make him accountable for his own actions. In the light of above, SPLA reserves the inalienable right to fight in self-defence”.

Government’s counteraccusation

President Kiir, however, says he ordered SPLA not to attack any rebel positions, in accordance with the terms of the ceasefire agreement signed last week.

“Our army since the night I signed this agreement – I said, you, army, if there is any place that you want to go to where you haven’t been yet, stop from that now,” Kiir was yesterday quoted by Radio Tamazuj as saying.

He instead accused rebels of attacking his forces in Rubkona Unity State.

“They (rebels) attacked our forces while they were remaining in their positions. Then at 9:20 a.m. the same force of Riek Machar attacked our force at Kilo 50, east of Bentiu. They came and attacked our forces and were repulsed. This same morning at about 9:00 they also attacked our forces at Mathiang, north-east of Nassir.”

It is further reported that Peter Gatdet attacked Guit County but “suffered heavy losses”.

According to the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister, Tedros Adhanom, the breach of the ceasefire is because of the absence of a Monitoring and Verification Mechanism.

The disappointed Tedros Adhanom urged the United Nations to endorse the resolution for the deployment of a Deterrence and Protection Force in ?South Sudan to monitor the ceasefire agreement.

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