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Iran Press TV

Blame game in South Sudan over ceasefire violation

Iran Press TV

Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:9PM

South Sudan's army and rebels have accused each other of violating the latest ceasefire deal, in the wake of fresh clashes between the two sides in the key northern oil hub town of Bentiu.

On Wednesday, South Sudanese army spokesman, Philip Aguer, said forces loyal to former vice president, Riek Machar, were responsible for Tuesday's attack on Bentiu, adding that the assault was 'in clear violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.'

Meanwhile, South Sudan's Defense Minister Kuol Manyang told media outlets that rebels were behind the town's shelling, which lasted for some two hours.

However, rebel commander Simon Maguek Kai accused the army of the Northeastern African country of raiding Bentiu and its adjacent areas, noting that 'Government forces shelled our positions for the last three days."

Fighting in Bentiu has been ongoing over the past months despite multiple ceasefire deals between the warring sides.

Earlier this month, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Machar forged a truce agreement aimed at resolving the ongoing conflict that has hurt the country's oil-producing areas.

The world's youngest nation descended into chaos in late 2013, after the president accused his sacked deputy of attempting to stage a coup.

Since then, forces loyal to each side have been engaged in fierce fighting across the country, despite numerous ceasefire deals.

The next round of peace talks will resume on February 19 and will be completed by March 5.

According to UN figures, more than half of South Sudan's 12 million population are in dire need of humanitarian aid, with over 20 percent of people are at risk of suffering from famine.

SSM/KA/SS



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