South Sudan rebel leader declares cessation of hostilities

South Sudan rebel leader declares cessation of hostilities

December 22, 2017 (JUBA) The leader of the main rebel group in South Sudan (SPLM In Opposition) has issued an order declaring a cessation of hostilities with the government forces, despite reports of continued fighting in several parts of the country after the signing of the ceasefire in Addis Ababa.

South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Rebel leader Riek Machar, through the order he issued on Friday 22, 2017, said the declaration was in adherence to the agreement on cessation of hostilities which his group had signed with other groups, including those in the government as part of the regional efforts to end the war.

«I am hereby ordering all forces to cease all hostilities, to remain in their bases and to act only in self defence or against any aggression», the order seen by Sudan Tribune reads in part.

The truce which the parties signed on Thursday evening in the Ethiopian capital will take hold at midnight on Sunday 24, 2017. It is unclear whether the parties would observe what they have signed after reports started emerging on Friday morning of attacks on positions held by rival groups in Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria.

Observers expressed fears the new deal could follow the path of the previous deal.

The regional and international leaders and guarantors behind the ceasefire deal welcomed the signing and said that the group representing the government under President Salva Kiir in Juba and others «reiterate full commitment to ending the war and creating space for a permanent ceasefire.

Also, they expressed their hope that this truce will lead to a constantly improving situation in terms of safety for the aid workers and civilians.

While the deal has been largely welcomed, violence has frequently marred previous declared ceasefires.

Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA IO Deputy Military Spokesperson released a statement on Friday accusing the government forces of attacking the positions held by their forces in different places in three regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal.

«Today 22nd Dec 7:00 am just less than 12 hours after signing of the Cessation of Hostilities in capital Addis, the government is on aggressive attacks on our positions. The SPLA IO base in Deim Jalab along Raga Boro Medina came under attack from SPLA and JEM (Justice and Equality Movement; they came in a convoy of 8 land cruisers and one (1) armoured vehicle. Our forces repulsed the attackers killing five (5) enemies 3 SPLA IG soldiers and 2 JEM Militias injuring dozens. We lost two (2) freedom fighters and one (1) wounded,» reads the statement.

The opposition spokesperson further claimed that government forces carry out an attack on the SPLA IO forces in the Upper Nile.

«The SPLA IO forces are under attacks by government forces in Kola in Fashoda State, Upper Nile, as they are on a plan to capture more areas from the SPLA IO during this dry season,» he adds.

Mary Christmas to all my brothers in rebellion. I am your brother from the government side. I wish you all well. This year and next year 2018, I want you to have a change of heart, and I want you to work hard of getting rid of hate so that we can have peace in our beautiful country. We are going to build our nation and marry many wives so that we also increase our population because we have lost so many innocent souls during this senseless war. A family that is divided cannot grow. After four decades of membership, last year England voted to quit the EU. Trade impacts will (.)

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