Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Kerry holds all-night talks with Afghan presidential rivals

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Netanyahu resists international pressure to stop air strikes on Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

Africa

S. Sudan truce collapses as rebels advance on oil town

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-18

Rebel forces in South Sudan launched a major assault Tuesday on the key oil town of Malakal, the army said, as a ceasefire deal agreed with the government late last month appeared to be in collapse.

"Fighting is still continuing. There are pockets of rebels in Malakal town but they are not controlling Malakal town," South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer said.

The government admitted that the rebels were in control of some parts of Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state.

"The SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) is determined to flush them out," Aguer said, adding that the rebels "conducted the attack with the purpose of looting".

An aid source said rebels had launched "a very big, coordinated attack" and warplanes – possibly Ugandan – had been flying over the town in support of government troops.

"Our team can hear small-arms fire," said another foreign aid source, who also asked not to be identified because of security concerns, adding that it was "not at all clear who is in control".

The UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said its bases – where thousands of civilians are sheltering – had been cut off: "Our compounds have been cut off in some of the crossfire," UNMISS spokesman Joe Contreras said.

Ceasefire in freefall, talks continue

The fighting was the heaviest since the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar signed a ceasefire agreement in neighbouring Ethiopia on January 23.

Kiir's spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, said that the slow-moving peace talks would continue.

"The president instructed the government team in Addis Ababa to continue with the peace talks in Addis Ababa. The president is willing to bring peace in South Sudan," he said.

The conflict in South Sudan – the world's youngest nation, which won independence from Khartoum less than three years ago – erupted in the capital Juba on December 15, but quickly spread across the country.

The fighting has left thousands of people dead and displaced close to 900,000 – including tens of thousands who have crammed into UNMISS bases for fear of ethnically motivated attacks by either Kiir's Dinka tribe or Machar's Nuer tribe.

The aid agency Oxfam said civilians trapped in Malakal were "very afraid".

"It's really worrying that this is happening and that the ceasefire is not being upheld, and it really damages our work to help the poorest and most vulnerable," said Oxfam spokeswoman Grace Cahill.

"Aside from the psychological trauma, it also has a practical impact on their access to food, water and medical care," she said.

Mutual accusations 

Malakal, situated on the bank of the White Nile, is one of three state capitals that were in rebel hands but which were recaptured by South Sudan's government, backed by Ugandan troops, before the ceasefire was signed.

A government official attending peace talks in Addis Ababa accused the rebels of having consistently violating the truce.

"It is very clear now that they are people who are not respecting ... the cessation of hostilities and they are not ready to abide by it, they are not ready to listen to the language of peace and they believe that everything can be finished by use of force," Michael Makuei told AFP.

Rebel spokesman Hussein Mar Nyout said the rebels were acting in "self-defence".

"Since last week, actually, the government forces have been advancing. From day one we are seeing the government having completely violated the ceasefire," he said.

"Our forces have actually not advanced anywhere ... maybe they were acting in self-defence."

The humanitarian situation in and around Malakal, as in many other areas of the country, has already been described as desperate, with tens of thousands of residents having fled and moved to makeshift camps in the bush.

UN officials and rights groups have reported a wave of atrocities committed by both sides, including massacres, rapes, the use of child soldiers and the looting of humanitarian aid supplies.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

Date created : 2014-02-18

  • SOUTH SUDAN

    South Sudan signs ceasefire deal with rebels

    Read more

  • SOUTH SUDAN

    South Sudan rebels lose key oil town to govt forces

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)