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S. Sudan army, rebels trade accusations over ceasefire violations

May 11, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA/JUBA) – The rebel SPLM-In-Opposition on Sunday accused South Sudan army (SPLA) of breaching Friday’s ceasefire agreement after it allegedly launched series of attacks on its Unity and Upper Nile states positions.

South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir (L), and rebel leader Riek Machar (R) shake hands and pray before signing a ceasefire agreement aimed at ending conflict in the country in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 9 May 2014 (Photo: AP/Elias Asmare)

The rebel spokesperson, Lul Ruai Koang told Sudan Tribune that pro-government forces shelled their positions in Upper Nile state on Saturday evening.

He further said they repulsed an attack on Guit county, adding that the SPLA soldiers backed by Sudanese rebels are currently “in active combat for the control of Bentiu".

The SPLA spokesperson, Philip Aguer denied the accusation saying that that their forces were attacked in Unity state by forces loyal to rebel leader, Riek Machar.

“Our forces did not carry out any attack in Unity state. The rebels are still in control of Bentiu and they are the ones attacking our positions", he said in a statement broadcast by the state-owned SSTV on Saturday.

The army, Aguer stressed, would adhere to the provisions of the ceasefire agreement government signed with the opposition forces in Ethiopia on Friday.

The two warring parties on Friday recommitted themselves to a cessation of hostilities agreement signed on 23 January but never observed.