South Sudanese fighting resumes, jeopardizing the peace agreement.
Fresh violence has erupted between competing forces in South Sudan, jeopardizing a fragile peace accord created with the assistance of foreigners such as the United States.
Sporadic violence was reported Thursday in Upper Nile state, according to competing factions’ spokespeople.
Army Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, a spokesperson for South Sudanese government soldiers, said that opposing forces — formally known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition — had “declared war” by assaulting their positions in Longechuk County.
Colonel Lam According to Paul Gabriel, a spokesperson for the opposing forces, government soldiers assaulted first. On Tuesday, his group’s political bureau authorized a suspension of its participation in meetings of the security mechanisms keeping the peace pact between President Salva Kiir and his opponent Vice President Riek Machar together.
The decision came after government troops were accused of committing aggressive assaults on opposing military outposts, including cantonment sites, in Upper Nile and Unity states.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway — the troika backing South Sudan’s peace pact — warned in a statement Wednesday that the fighting threatens to undermine the government’s unity.
“With less than a year remaining in the transitioning phase,” the statement stated, “complete dedication is vital to getting us through the finish line.” “Unfortunately, recent developments indicate the opposite.”
When oil-rich South Sudan earned its long-fought independence from Sudan in 2011, there were great expectations for peace and stability. However, the nation descended into civil conflict in December 2013, partly because to ethnic differences, when soldiers loyal to Kiir began fighting those loyal to Machar.
In 2018, the adversaries negotiated a peace accord, with Machar returning as Kiir’s deputy. However, obstacles continue, notably the government’s inability to execute promised changes, such as completing the army command unification.
In a study last year, a panel of United Nations experts cautioned that “the stability of South Sudan has remained in danger” due to missed deadlines and political deadlock on key items in the unity government’s accord.