February 16, 2016 (JUBA) – Renewed clashes in South Sudan’s Wau state between the army and the armed opposition faction have caused hundreds of people to flee their homes, residents and eyewitness said on Monday.
The incident took place in the western part of the state capital, Besilia, forcing hundreds, mainly women and children, to seek food and shelter.
According to multiple residents who arrived in Wau town on Sunday, both sides of the conflict were involved, burning down huts to ground level.
The most affected areas were Abushaka, Kapi and Safa, initially suspected by government forces to be opposition-held territories.
The deputy governor of Wau state, Andrea Dominic, condemned the attack by the armed opposition, describing it as a violation to the ceasefire deal.
“We want to know if these ruminant rebels in Wau state are not part of the agreement or they are not under the control of the SPLM-IO so that our forces can respond to them,” the deputy governor told Sudan Tribune Monday.
The armed confrontation between the two main warring parties came a day after a delegation of ceasefire monitors, headed by Akram Hussein arrived in Wau town to access the security situation in the region.
The armed opposition leader in Wau state denied his reports that their forces were the first to attack government troops in the specified areas.
“What we understood and what we occurred was that there was a group of four soldiers riding motorcycles from Bisselia to Wau town. When they reached an area called El-Daso near Safa, they met innocent youths, so they stopped their motorcycles and ran after those youths,” said Peter Tingo.
Charles Anthony Ngberende, an area lawmaker, said he lost contact with his father since Saturday and there are fears he could have also fled the violence.