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South Sudan factions clash after peace deal

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South Sudan factions clash after peace deal

16 September 2018 Sunday 17:37
South Sudan factions clash after peace deal

JUBA

Fresh fighting has broken out in South Sudan just days after the government and several opposition groups inked a peace deal in neighboring Ethiopia. 

Both government and opposition have blamed each other for the latest fighting in parts of Kajo-Keji and Lainya Counties respectively. 

Lam Paul Gabriel, Deputy military spokesman of the main rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), alleged that government forces begun attacking their bases on Wednesday, the day the warring factions signed the peace deal. 

He said fighting continued until Friday and at least eight government soldiers were killed during the three days offensive, a claim not independently verified. 

Government military spokesman Lul Roai Koang dismissed the accusations as "negative propaganda", adding that the rebels have embarked on massive offensive in the southern and northern parts of the country in a bid to capture more territory for cantonment of their forces. 

"A number of rebels hiding along the border with Uganda started launching operations against our forces in Sokare in Kajo Keji County and in Lainya with the intention of capturing more territory," Koang said.

"The rebels are the ones who have been on the offensive and when they started to launch their offensive, they start with negative propaganda that they are victims of attacks," he added. 

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.  A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital, Juba in July 2016.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups were reported on Wednesday to have signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the five-year old conflict.

Under the reported deal, Machar will be reinstated as Kiir's deputy.

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