South Sudan: Rebel Group Accuses Government of UN Base Attack
South Sudan’s leading armed rebel group has accused “government elements” of carrying out the recent attack on a UN base sheltering internally displaced civilians, according to sources in the country.
Gunmen opened fire on unarmed civilians at the UN camp on Wednesday night. Seven people were confirmed dead on Thursday and more than 30 injured, but the death toll has now risen to at least 18 and more than 90 injured.
South Sudan’s lead opposition force, SPLA-IO, has condemned the attack, which it claims was orchestrated by “government elements” who conspired with supporters of the regime.
The rebel group has labelled the attack as a tribally motivated operation, which was planned in advanced, according to the South Sudan News Agency. The paper quotes from an SPLA-IO statement, saying: “This is [a] well planned and coordinated attack…including weapons smuggled inside the camp illegally before [the] incident.”
The statement also claims the attack was carried out “by [the] South Sudan army, jointly with Dinka Padang militants, operating in the town under command of the current governor of Upper Nile, Mr.Chol Thon.”
26,000 displaced in fresh violence
Despite peace terms having been agreed between government and rebel forces, violence in South Sudan appears to be no closer to ending. Government fighters and the SPLA-IO have been accusing each other of staging attacks on civilians for months, as a peace deal agreed in August last year continues to make n impact.
The UN has accused both sides of committing grave human rights violations throughout the civil war, which has now lasted more than two years. Hopes that conflict in the country could soon come to an end were reignited last week after President Kiir announced SPLA-IO leader Riek Machar would retake his former position as vice-president.
However, the rebel leader is yet to return to South Sudan and the government has now declared the formation of a transitional government will have to be delayed.