A South Sudanese rebel group on Friday accused government troops of attacking their base only a day after the parties signed a ceasefire in a four-year war that has killed tens of thousands of people.
The ceasefire, that would allow humanitarian groups access to civilians caught in the fighting, formally comes into force on Sunday morning.
A spokesperson for SPLA-IO (SPLA -In Opposition) rebel group said army forces had attacked a rebel base in Deim Jalab, in the western part of the country. Lam Paul Gabriel said two rebels and five government troops were killed in the fighting.
The army spokesman in the capital, Juba, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At the signing of the ceasefire agreement, the South Sudanese government said it would ‘send messages to all commands in the field to abide by this cessation of hostilities’.
South Sudan govt, rebel groups sign IGAD ceasefire deal in Ethiopia https://t.co/npy7MjeeMn— africanews (@africanews) December 22, 2017
The war that began in late 2013 in the world’s youngest nation has forced a third of the population to flee their homes. The United Nations describes the violence as ethnic cleansing.
The latest round of talks in the Ethiopian capital, convened by the East African bloc IGAD, brought the warring sides back to the negotiating table after a 2015 peace deal collapsed last year during heavy fighting in Juba.
After the new agreement was signed on Thursday, South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei Leuth told journalists:
“From now onwards, there will be no more fighting,” he added. “Just talks.”
The United States, Britain and Norway, which form a group that supported a 2005 accord leading to the independence of South Sudan from Sudan, welcomed the agreement.
“The troika … congratulate the parties on their willingness to compromise for the benefit of the people of South Sudan and hope that they immediately take action to make good on that agreement,” they said in a statement issued by the U.S. State Department.
The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat described the signing of the ceasefire agreement as ‘an encouraging phase’.
‘’ I do hope in signing this agreement, you will try to put an end to this tragedy,’‘ Mahamat said.
As the agreement comes into force on Sunday, the next stage is expected to be negotiations would now centre on thrashing out a revised power-sharing arrangement leading up to a new date for polls.