July 24, 2014 (NEW YORK) – Heavy fighters occurred Thursday between South Sudan army (SPLA) and the opposition forces, with the latter abandoning the strategic Upper Nile town of Nasir, the United Nations said.
The clashes reportedly took place in the western part of Nasir town.
“There are no reports of injuries sustained by UNMISS personnel nor internally displaced persons inside the mission’s county operating base in Nasir town,” Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, told reporters in New York.
South Sudanese opposition forces launched ground attack on pro-government positions in the strategic town on 20 July, contravening the ceasefire agreement.
The United States earlier condemned the attack, calling on both parties to immediately end all such attacks and fully adhere to their May 9 and June 10 commitments to cease hostilities and begin the disengagement of forces to be monitored and verified by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Monitoring and Verification Mechanism.
“The people of Nasir, as with civilians all across South Sudan, have suffered from frequent and horrific acts of violence and human rights abuses since fighting broke out in mid-December, causing widespread displacement and a worsening humanitarian crisis as civilians fear returning to their homes,” the US said in a 21 July statement.
“With famine conditions looming in some conflict-affected areas of South Sudan as early as August 2014, it is increasingly urgent that both parties immediately recommit themselves to inclusive, political negotiations,” it added.
Both UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and the African Union commission chief, Dlamini Zuma, condemned the rebel attacks, describing it as a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
The two warring parties, mediators announced on Thursday, will resume negotiations aimed at ending the seven-month old conflict in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 30 July.