South Sudan fighting intensifies

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Fighting between government and opposition forces is intensifying in South Sudan as the dry season approaches.

The South Sudanese army says fighting has spread through to 7 of the 32 states in the country over past three days.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) blames the violence on new armed groups.

The fighting is presenting a new dimension to the country’s conflict.

Usually, government army units are able to gain control of more territories during dry seasons, primarily because they are able to move military equipment more easily as roads connecting most parts of the country become accessible.

Now however, the government army claims it is the opposition forces that are staging the attacks.

This, the government attributes to a want to gain attention of regional body IGAD.

“The reason as to why rebels are intensifying their attacks on our positions as well as unknown or little known armed groups is because they would like to attract the attention of IGAD for them to be included in the forthcoming peace revitalization meeting. ” Spokesperson of the army, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang said.

IGAD has been pressuring the warring factions to engage in dialogue to end the war in the world’s youngest nation.

South Sudan has been at war since December 2013, sparked by accusations from President Salva Kiir that his then-deputy Riek Machar was plotting a coup against his government. Machar denied the allegations but then went on to mobilize a rebel force to fight the government.

The war has killed thousands and displaced millions other, prompting the United Nations to rank the country as Africa’s biggest refugee crisis, and third worldwide after Syria and Afghanistan.

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