On Sunday, December 24, South Sudan's government and main rebel group, accused each other of breaking a ceasefire that had gone into effect shortly after midnight (local time). Representatives from the Sudan People's Liberation Army - In Opposition (SPLA-IO) accused government forces of launching an attack on their positions in the town of Bieh Payam (north), as well as positions in Yei county (southwest) on Sunday. An army spokesman denied the allegations, instead accusing the rebels of violations of the ceasefire deal, adding that the rebels ambushed a convoy that was trying to deliver food in the southern Amadi state. According to the army spokesperson, the army was able to kill five rebel militants. He also accused the rebels of attacking military police in Aweil East (northwest). It is currently unclear what implications these developments may have for the ceasefire deal, but further clashes in the coming days cannot be ruled out.
Representatives from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA-IO, among other groups, signed a permanent ceasefire on December 21 in an effort to revive the 2015 peace agreement. The cessation of hostilities was to officially go into effect on December 24 at 00:01 (local time).
South Sudan has been wracked by years of political, interethnic, and intercommunal violence - exacerbated by border and oil revenue disputes with Sudan. Following the 2011 signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that gave the country its independence from Sudan, the predominantly north-south conflict has given way to a pattern of internal violence. Since December 2013, the country has experienced an intermittent civil war waged between the government of President Salva Kiir and the SPLA on one side, and former Vice President Riek Machar and the SPLA-IO on the other. The "Compromise Peace Agreement," signed by the SPLA and SPLA-IO in 2015, failed to prevent additional outbreaks of ethnic and political violence. The conflict has continued despite international support for state-building and peace-keeping - including the 12,000-strong United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), deployed since 2011.
Many Western governments advise against nonessential travel to South Sudan. Certain regions should be particularly avoided, including the states of Unity and Upper Nile, the north of Warrap state, parts of Eastern and Central Equatoria states, and areas along the border with the Central African Republic, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. If travel is necessary, ensure that proper security protocols are in place.
Copyright and Disclaimer