There’s “deliberate” fighting in Equatoria, Upper Nile – Ceasefire Monitors

UNMISS-CTSAMM visit burnt houses in Yei in February 2017|Credit| CTSAMM

The ceasefire and transitional security monitors say they have observed a trend of “deliberate and continued” fighting in the Upper Nile and Equatoria regions.

The chairman of the group, Major General Molla Hailemariam, says the fighting makes it difficult to provide humanitarian assistance and hinders the movement of the local people.

He says the monitors have been patrolling areas in Terekeka, Yei, Tombura, Ezo, Maridi, and Mundri.

They reported burning of huts in the Yei, fighting in Malakal and other incidents in the former Central and Western Equatoria states.

“The continuous fighting exacerbates the already fragile humanitarian situation in these areas and hinders the movement of people and humanitarian agencies,” Major-Gen Hailemariam said during the opening of the 10th meeting of the monitoring body, CTSAMM, in Juba on Thursday.

“In general, the security situation is deteriorating with ongoing fighting in different areas of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria.

“We urge the Parties to stop their deliberate attacks on each other and adhere to the requirements of the peace agreement.”

In response, the Spokesperson of the SPLA, Brig-Gen Lul Ruai, confirmed that there has been ceasefire violations recently.

However, he says CTSAMM has not specified which of the parties violated the ceasefire.

“Regarding violations, they should have come forward and said who has been violating,” Brig Ruai told Eye Radio.

“The latest violation happened on the 6th and 7th of this month when we heard the major road connecting Kapoeta with Torit getting blocked by the rebels and we went to the area to ensure that it was re-opened.

“Our senior officer was ambushed and killed. We have not heard CTSAMM and UNMISS condemning that act but whenever we fight in self-defense, we are condemned for fighting in self-defense.”

The monitors also spoke of denial of access to some areas such as Wau Shilluk in Central Upper Nile State by the SPLA.

Brig-Genl Lul says the monitors were not allowed into the area due to security issues, saying the monitors would interrupt security measures the army had put in place.