Peace mediators censure fresh fighting in South Sudan

Peace mediators censure fresh fighting in South Sudan

Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:31PM GMT

Mediators of the South Sudan conflict have denounced as “senseless” a fresh outbreak of fighting between government troops and rebel forces loyal to the country’s former Vice President Riek Machar.

In a statement on Saturday, East Africa’s regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) expressed regret over renewed clashes in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State amid efforts to broker lasting peace between the country’s warring sides.

Seyoum Mesfin, the chief mediator at South Sudan’s peace talks, called on the Juba government and rebel forces to exercise restraint, saying the two sides should “immediately stop the senseless fighting.”

“It is unfortunate that this trend of events has been observed every time a new session of talks begins, and any such sideshows aimed at derailing the peace process will not be tolerated,” Mesfin said.
The new wave of violence came after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Machar signed a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on August 25, pledging to put an end to the deadly civil war. IGAD brokered the peace talks.

The fighting between the troops of South Sudan’s president, who is from the Dinka ethnic group, and his former deputy Machar, a Nuer, erupted around the capital, Juba, on December 15, 2013.

The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s tribe against Machar’s.

Reports say thousands of people have been killed and more than one million others uprooted from their homes since the conflict began.

Previous ceasefire agreements have all been broken and efforts to form a unity government have so far failed.

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