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NASIR - 22 Mar 2018

South Sudan’s rival forces trade accusations over new fighting in Nasir

South Sudan’s rebels accused government troops on Thursday of launching attacks on their forces in the town of Nasir despite the signed ceasefire deal, a charge the government denied.

Rebel leader Riek Machar’s forces told Radio Tamazuj that their positions outside the town of Nasir came under assault by government troops on Wednesday.

Rebel spokesman William Gatjiath Deng said the government forces want to capture their positions.

Paul Lam Gabriel, deputy spokesman of the rebels, also said the government forces were responsible for the attack on their positions.

For his part, the government forces instead accused the rebels of launching attacks on their positions in the town of Nasir in an attempt to capture the town.

SPLA spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said their forces were fighting in self-defense in the town of Nasir, claiming they incurred heavy losses on the rebels.

The government-appointed information minister in Latjor State, Hoth Tuach also said the town of Nasir came under attack from three directions, but the attackers retreated after the government used heavy artilleries.

“The rebels of Riek Machar attacked us in Nasir. They came from three directions. One group came through Noor Deng and the other group came through Ketbeek and the third group came through Dhuoreding,” reads the statement in part.

The conflict erupted in December 2013 after a power struggle between President Kiir and Machar, his former deputy.

Fighting has killed thousands of people and driven millions from their homes, with many fleeing to neighboring countries.