January 31, 2019 (JUBA) - The National Salvation Front led by Thomas Cirilo (NAS-TC) Thursday said its fighters have repulsed attacks on its positions in Yei River Stat during two days by the government army adding that the ceasefire is "technically dead".
The rebel NAS-TC which is non-signatory of the revitalized peace agreement and the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) have recently clashed in several areas in Central and Western part of the Equatoria province.
The peace implementation monitoring body (JMEC) and the IGAD special envoy for South Sudan called for de-escalation, pointing to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on 21 December 2017.
NAS spokesperson Suba Samuel Manase nonetheless accused the South Sudanese army of launching attacks on their position in Morsak and Lujulo areas of Yei River State on Wednesday and continued on Thursday, adding they repelled the assailants and inflicting heavy casualties on the government troops.
"Yesterday 30th January 2019, the enemy attacked NAS position in Morsak and they were repulsed. However, this morning the enemy regrouped and attacked again, and are now surrounded," Manase said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday night.
He further said that the SSPDF used two Armored Personnel Carriers and 3 light vehicles to attack the rebel-controlled area in Lujulu county through Aboroto from Morobo on Wednesday evening.
"The regime militia were successfully ambushed at Aboroto killing a dozen of them and wounding several others," said.
The IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan on Thursday condemned the fighting in Yei and recalled the need to abide by the cessation of hostilities deal.
Ismail Wais said "IGAD is dismayed" at the violation of the ceasefire.
"The people of South Sudan are tired of war and violence". The rule of fear must end," he called.
In Juba, the South Sudanese army did not comment on calls by IGAD or JMEC on this respect.
For its part, NAS reiterated its commitment to the cessation of hostilities and pointed an accusing finger to the "regime irresponsible behaviour".
"The regime persistence on this dry season offensive with impunity implies that (CoHA) is technically dead, said the statement.
The rebel spokesperson ended his statements by warning that the SSPDF is planning to launch new attacks on their positions in Jebel Lado and Mangala areas of north Juba as well as in north Torit in Eastern Equatoria State.
Last December, the IGAD special envoy met with the holdout groups in Addis Ababa to explore ways to achieve a comprehensive peace in the country.
Also, President Salva Kiir said he would reach out the rebels to convince them to join peace.