Reports indicate the one week old ceasefire in South Sudan has collapsed and heavy fighting has erupted again. The cessation of violence was part of the IGAD led initiative to end a year of fighting in the world’s newest nation which has so far killed thousands and displaced millions.
The renewed clashes come after a pact, brokered by the regional eight-nation IGAD bloc along with the United Nations, the African Union, China, Britain, Norway and the United States, provided for a permanent ceasefire supposed to enter into force yesterday.
â€œRiek Macharâ€™s rebels attacked Malakal yesterday,â€ Friday, and the â€œassault on Malakal resumed this (Saturday) morning,â€ army spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer said at a press conference.
â€œThatâ€™s untrue, their forces attacked us near Malakal,â€ rebel spokesman James Gatdet Dak told AFP, referring to a strategic northeastern town and a gateway to the countryâ€™s last remaining major oil fields.
â€œThey wanted to seize the area before the ceasefire comes into effect,â€ he said.
The accord, signed by rebel leader Machar on August 17 and the government only on Wednesday, gave a 72-hour deadline for a permanent cessation of hostilities.