The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom who is also the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has urged all signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) to respect the accord.
The decision by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) to suspend its participation in the security mechanisms of the peace agreement is deeply worrying,” stated SRSG Haysom.
“However, we acknowledge some of the concerns raised by the SPLM-IO, especially the alarming spike in violent conflict in Upper Nile and Unity States, that has directly impacted their cantonment sites as well as innocent civilians,” added the top UN envoy.
The UN says there is no military solution to the current situation in South Sudan.
Fighting in Upper Nile State
Fighting has erupted in the northern part of the country in the Upper Nile Region on Thursday.
The clashes are between forces under the control of president Salva Kiir and those of the opposition leader Riek Machar who is also the country’s first vice president.
“Our forces were attacked this morning and as I speak now we are yet to receive clear information on number of causalities and damage that might have occurred to our equipment.” Said Major General, Lul Ruai Koang, Spokesperson for the South Sudan People’s Defense Force
South Sudan’s People’s Defense Force which is under president Salva Kiir blames forces loyal to vice president Riek Machar for the fighting.
“We are under attack without any provocation, we did not get out of our defensive position to go and attack our peace partners, so I am alerting all the stakeholders that SPLA-IO is on offensive so if there is anything they can do, let them prevail over SPLA-IO so that they stop all forms of hostilities.” Added Major General Lul in an interview with Juba Echo on Thursday.
The opposition forces under vice president Riek Machar known as Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition or SPLA-IO denies attacking SSPDF
It says it’s only fighting now in self-defense adding that it pulled out from the various security mechanisms under the 2018 peace deal because of continuous attacks on its positions by president Kiir’s forces.
“We are calling on the peace guarantors, IGAD, those that are responsible for this peace to make sure they put these two parties down and find out the best possible solution to resolve this otherwise, what I am seeing is that SSPDF is taking us back to war.” Said
Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, Spokesperson, Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO)