South Sudan ceasefire violated within hours

By Deng Machol

Expectations were high after the Khartoum meeting between President Kiir and and former Vice President Machar
Expectations were high after the Khartoum meeting between President Kiir and and former Vice President Machar

South Sudan armed troops has traded accusation of violated of the country’s latest cease-fire just hours after it began at Saturday’s midnight.

Both the government and armed opposition pointing fingers on each other of attacking.

This claims indicated a shaky start to the latest ceasefire – attempts at ending the four and half-year civil war that has killed tens of thousands and created Africa’s largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Millions are reportedly displaced from their homes and thousands are seeking protection at UN protection sites across the country.

Of recently, President Salva Kiir and rival Riek Machar, former vice president, had agreed on a “permanent” cease-fire in neighboring Sudan after their first face – face meeting in nearly two years.

In aftermath of deal, President Kiir and his rival rebel leader Machar declared permanent ceasefire across the country to come to effects on June 30, but it is dishonored by armed groups.

Opposition spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel said government forces and Sudanese rebel militias launched a “heavy joint attack” in Mboro, Wau County, in the northwest around 7 a.m. Saturday, arriving in armored personnel carriers, trucks and Land Cruisers.

“The fight is still ongoing as I write,” Lam said, further called on the UN peacekeeping mission and ceasefire monitors to investigate.

He added his forces reserved the right to self – defense.

Meanwhile, the government said 25 people mainly women and children are confirmed dead and 40 others injured after rebel forces loyal to I.O leader Riek Machar carried out bloody attacks targeting civilians at Bangketa village in Maban County of Northern Upper Nile.

The violations has occurred in Upper Niles and central equatoria regions.

 This violations is described as disappointment by the observers and citizens, argued that even when the two principals, who are also commander-in-chief  declares a cease-fire, the both regime’s forces still violate it.

South Sudanese army spokesman says that the opposition attacked instead, argued that opposition forces have a loose leadership as they are not being controlled by leader.

Juba army claimed that the rebel forces are fighting to secure at least town before a cantonments establishment.

A previous cease-fire in December, 2017 was also violated within hours, prompting a new push by the international community to threaten sanctions against those blocking the path to peace.

This time, the two principals had faced a possible United Nations army embargo and sanctions if fighting didn’t end and a political deal wasn’t reached very soon within this month.

The analyst said the two leaders are willing to put their words into reality but they are not in direct control of their forces.

Both sides have been splintering, with the opposition breaking into multiple armed groups and high-level officials leaving the government in frustration amid accusations by watchdog groups that some decision makers choose to profit from the war instead of pushing for peace.

Only financial and legal pressure on such leaders “could possibly alter current calculations that favor war, instability and chaos over peace, democracy, and the rule of law,” John Prendergast, founding director of the Enough Project, which focuses on the corruption behind Africa’s conflicts, told the AP.

However, the latest ceasefire was received with optimistic by regional and international community, including the warring party.

A joint statement by the US, Britain and Norway warned that effects of the halt in fighting must be seen on the ground.

“It must lead to … an end  to the horrendous abuses endured by civilians at the hands of security forces.” Troika said.

Both sides have been accused of human rights abuses.

The warring parties have yet to agree on a power-sharing deal, as the government has rejected the idea of Dr. Machar again becoming president Kiir’s deputy.

The civil war broke out in mid – December 2013 after political disagreement between president Kiir and his then-vice president Machar, just two years after South Sudan won independence from Sudan.

A IGAD broke, 2015 August peace agreement returned Machar as first vice president, but the deal collapsed in July 2016 when fresh fighting erupted in the capital, Juba at presidential palance, with Machar fleeing the country on foot through the bush into Congo.

But Mr. Machar has been under detention in South Africa for nearly two years, Machar just released from house arrest in June, to participate in peace talks with Mr. Kiir.

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