South Sudan rebels declare seizing strategic area in Unity state

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-11-17 18:09:26

South Sudan rebels declared they seized a strategic area in the oil-rich Unity state in a fresh violation of the ceasefire deal signed by the two warring parties last August, local media reported Tuesday.

"Our forces have managed to control Nhialdiu area, some 15 km from Bentiu, capital of the Unity state," local South Sudan's Radio Tamazuj quoted Weirial Puok, a rebel spokesperson, as saying.

South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aquer, for his part, acknowledged that the rebels have controlled some parts of Nhialdiu area, accusing them violating the ceasefire deal.

"The rebel forces have managed to control parts of Nhialdiu in an attack on Monday morning, and the battles are still continuing," Aguer was quoted as saying.

He further denied that the government army has carried out any hostile acts in the Unity state.

The move comes a few days after observers of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development in Africa (IGAD) accused the rebel forces of violating the ceasefire at many areas in South Sudan.

The IGAD was scheduled to hold a ceremony in mid- November in South Sudan to mark the beginning of the transitional period in the new-born state, but the ceremony was first delayed to Nov. 19 and then to Nov. 23.

The two sides have recently declared their commitment to a comprehensive cease-fire that went into effect as of last Aug. 30 in accordance with a peace deal signed last August under the patronage the IGAD.

The two parties, however, have repeatedly accused each other of violating the cease-fire agreement which threatens to destroy the peace deal.

South Sudan was plunged into violence in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Riek Machar.

The conflict soon turned into an all-out war, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension.

The clashes have killed thousands of South Sudanese and forced around 1.9 million to flee their homes.

Posted in: Africa

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