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South Sudan: Rebels ‘Attack Gov’t Military Base Near Juba’

Agreements have led to a reduction in fighting and some progress toward merging the various armed forces into a national army.

South Sudanese hideout rebel group, National Salvation Front (NAS) says its soldiers killed about a dozen government soldiers in renewed hostilities last week.

The fighting is a deep strain on the country’s fragile peace agreement, ceasefire and a unity government formed last year. NAS spokesperson says they staged an attack on a government military base in self defense.

“The gallant NAS forces aborted SSPDF planned aggression by conducting a successful counter-attack operation on SSPDF forward tactical operation base of Tiger Division in Gorom Payam, a suburb of the capital Juba and fifteen miles (15) from the centre of the capital,” NAS spokesperson Suba Samuel Manase said in a statement .

Rebels accuse the army of using the base to coordinate the “on-going military offensive against NAS positions in Equatoria, particularly present attack on NAS positions in Mundri, Western Equatoria State”.

“In this operation eleven (11) enemy soldiers were killed in action, more than seven (7) others injured, nine (9) AKM/47 weapons, an assorted quantity of ammunition and other equipment were captured in good condition,” Manase said.

The government of President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO signed a peace deal in 2018 that recently led to the formation of a transitional unity government. The NAS signed a separate peace deal with the government in 2019.

The agreements have led to a reduction in fighting and some progress toward merging the various armed forces into a national army.

The South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) including NAS and the government agreed on 15 February to cease hostilities and to abide by the cessation of hostilities agreement of 21 December 2017.

The parties were supposed to resume peace talks last March in a process mediated by Sant’Egidion religious community of the Vatican. But the negotiations were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.