January 5, 2015 (JUBA/BENTIU) – A least six rebels were killed in renewed clashes between South Sudan army and its armed opposition in Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile states, the army disclosed.
South Sudan army spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer said two pro-government soldiers were killed when rebels attacked their bases about 30 kilometers north of the Unity state capital, Bentiu on Monday.
“They were repulsed and again this is a clear violation of cessation of hostilities agreement,” Aguer told reporters in the capital, Juba.
“Since December 31st,  the rebels of Riek Machar has been shelling Nasser [in Upper Nile state] and this continued for three days. The SPLA are in their defensive positions and will continue to defend themselves and the sovereign of this country,” he added.
The opposition military spokesperson accused pro-government forces of attacking their positions.
“Pro-government militias have continued to violate the ceasefire agreement, resulting into death of six civilians in Unity state,” Brig. Gen Lul Ruai Koang said in a statement.
Analysts have warned that clashes will intensify during dry season that started in December and runs through till April in South Sudan.
Both sides are said to have acquired heavy weaponry during the rainy season, raising fears of possible escalation of the ongoing war.
Peace talks between government and armed opposition led by former vice-president, Riek Machar have stalled over the role of the president and prime minister in the proposed transitional government.