Dozens of soldiers, rebels dead in South Sudan

Fifty-two soldiers, rebels dead due to recent clashes in South Sudan

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

South Sudanese soldiers walk alongside a tank as they withdraw from the town of Jau, at the disputed border with Sudan March 17, 2013

Fifty-two soldiers and rebels lost their lives due to ongoing clashes between the two warring sides, South Sudanese rebels said on Saturday in South Sudan, which was triggered by what military officials claim the latest violation of a peace deal signed last month.

Spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer reported that rebel fighting forces have attacked positions controlled by government troops, leading to the death of 14 and wounding 42 others.

On the other hand, government forces have killed 38 rebels and captured two others, Aguer said.

Rebels have stated on Saturday that government forces had assaulted their controlled positions over the last three days, creating further confusion regarding a fragile peace agreement between the two sides.

Both parties have continuously  accused the other of violating the ceasefire ratified by parliament last month due to UN’s pressure, regional and world powers.

"For the last three days we have received a report of the government forces on the offensive, attacking our positions in Unity state," rebel spokesman James Gatdet Dak said.

"The intention was actually for them to control the areas we have been holding for a number of months, and this is a clear violation of the permanent peace agreement."

The deal, which was established following a chain of failed ceasefires, came under further burden when President Salva Kiir declared on Friday that he had boosted the number of administrative states from 10 to 28, a decision the rebels claim was taken unilaterally.

Kiir claimed that such action would move more power into the regions and create a more federal government.

"This presidential decree is a violation of the peace agreement and is a clear message to the world that president Kiir is not committed to peace," Machar said in a statement.

In 2011, Sudan saw its southern part split away under the surveillance of a peace deal that put an end to decades of north-south civil war.

However, a political conflict between President Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar plunged the newly formed country into a battle in December 2013.

TRTWorld and agencies