South Sudan ceasefire violated hours after taking effect

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South Sudan’s latest ceasefire has been violated hours after it began with the government and armed opposition trading blame, AP news agency reported. 

Rebel spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel said government forces and Sudanese rebels launched a “heavy joint attack” in Mboro, Wau County around 7:00am (04:00 GMT) on Saturday, arriving in armoured personnel carriers, trucks and SUV’s. 

AP quoted Gabriel as saying “the fight is still ongoing as I write”. He called on the UN peacekeeping mission and ceasefire monitors to investigate, adding that the opposition reserves the right to self defence.

“This is disappointing that even when their president and commander-in-chief Salva Kiir declares a ceasefire, the regime’s forces still violate it,” Gabriel told AP.

“There is the possibility Salva Kiir is not in control of his forces or he doesn’t want peace to come,” he added.

Government spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told AP the opposition attacked instead.

“They have a loose leadership; they’re not being controlled by anyone. The people of South Sudan should be given a chance to lead a peaceful life, and the army is observing the order of the president. It’s very sad,” Ateny was quoted as saying.

The “permanent” ceasefire had gone into effect at midnight, only days after it had been signed in Khartoum, Sudan. 

The previous ceasefire in December was violated within hours as well, prompting a new push by the international community to threaten UN and regional sanctions against those blocking the path to peace.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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