South Sudan: Ceasefire broken by both sides, monitors say

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An independent body monitoring a ceasefire agreed by South Sudan’s warring political opponents last month says both sides have violated the agreement.

According to Kenya: Odinga vows to inaugurate himself as the ‘people’s president’, 16 people have been killed – including 15 civilians, three of whom were children – since the agreement was signed.

South Sudan ceasefire broken

The independent body says that despite efforts from the government and opposition leaders to enforce the ceasefire, numerous violations have taken place in less than a month since the deal came into effect.

“Despite commitments we’re still observing hostilities on the ground,” communications officer for the monitoring body, Ruth Feeney, told The Associated Press.

The monitoring group also says children continue to be recruited as soldiers and the prevalence of sexual violence remains high.

Both sides guilty of violence

South Sudan’s main armed opposition group is accused of attacking the town of Koch just hours after the ceasefire was implemented on Christmas Eve. While government forces have been accused of initiating clashes in the Equatoria region and looting civilian homes.

Both sides deny the accusations and accuse their opponents of initiating the violations.

Fresh peace talks are scheduled to be held in early February but Ruth Feeney warns there could be more reports of violations before further talks take place.

“It’s likely that there will be more reports of this nature in the future,” she said, pointing out that ceasefire violations in South Sudan are “endemic and so widespread.”

Featured image: By Steve Evans – Flickr: South Sudan: Independence, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18246545

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.