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NAS committed to cessation of hostilities deal: spokesperson

August 6, 2019 (JUBA) - The National Salvation Front (NAS) is committed to the cessation of hostilities agreement it signed in December 2017, but reserves the natural right of self-defense, its spokesperson said.

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Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, the ex-SPLA deputy chief of general staff for training (youtube photo)

The holdout group, in a statement issued Tuesday, claimed government forces are planning to launch another military campaign on its positions.

“According to the NAS military intelligence, the SSPDF [South Sudan Peoples Defense Force] is planning to attack NAS positions in the three (3) axis of Jebel Lado and Terekeka on the western bank of the Nile and Mangalla on the eastern bank,” said NAS spokesman, Suba Samuel Manase,

He added. “These planned operations are intended to div rt theattention of the people of South Sudan and the international community, from the government’s failure to deliver services andbring about a just and sustainable peace in the country”.

The official, however, said NAS forces in these locations are closely monitoring the movements of government forces, including their allies and would fight back in self-defense.

Separately, Manase claimed government forces on August 4, randomly shelled an area they suspected to be NAS position in Lowi hills of Eastern Equatoria, killing of two innocent civilians and injuring three others.

Sudan Tribune could, however, not independently verify the rebel faction’s claims.

The group also reiterated its commitment to protect the lives, dignity and property of all people in South Sudan and vowed respect the principles of international humanitarian law.

NAS was one of the armed opposition groups that did not signed last year peace deal.

In May, South Sudan’s rival parties agreed on a six-month extension to implement next steps in the fragile peace agreement. The extension came after the main opposition group threatened to boycott formation of a unity government initially planned for May 12.