The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has denied accusations by South Sudan’s rebel group that it broke a truce signed late last year.

The armed opposition group, Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) allied to former deputy president Riek Machar, earlier this week accused IGAD of indirectly backing attacks and cease-fire violations on areas under their control.

SPLA-IO deputy military spokesperson, Lam Paul Gabriel, said Monday that IGAD and the international guarantors Troika (Britain, the United States and Norway) allowed the country’s first vice president Taban Deng Gai to tour areas under their control in the Greater Jonglei region in violation of the truce.

But in a statement issued Thursday evening, IGADs’ Special Envoy for South Sudan Ismail Wais rejected the allegations and termed them misleading and unfounded.

Wais said the accusations were aimed at diverting the attention of the public from the core issues of attainment of peace and security in South Sudan.

“The special envoy asked the party responsible for this press release to withdraw the statement and not to indulge in such act in the future as it is unfounded,” Wais said.

“The signatories have been called upon to desist from actions that contravene the Agreement,” he added.

The cease-fire agreement signed between the South Sudanese government and several rebel groups in Ethiopia on Dec. 21, 2016 asked the warring parties to stop military operations and keep forces in their bases while calling for release of political detainees and child soldiers.

But it was broken immediately after it took effect on Dec. 24 last year and both sides have been blaming each other for the violations.

South Sudan’s armed actors had previously violated several cease-fires since the conflict erupted four years ago.

The IGAD envoy urged the warring factions to allow the truce monitoring body, known as the Ceasefire Transitional Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM), to identify armed groups and military commanders responsible for breaking the pact.

“Violators shall be identified, held accountable and will face all consequences thereof,” he said.

South Sudan has been embroiled in four years of conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the civilians, creating one of the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016. Enditem


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