Rumbek — Days after the South Sudanese government and rebels signed a ceasefire deal to end the 5-week-old conflict on Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, authorities in Lakes state say they have managed to push rebel forces out of areas along the west bank of the White Nile River.
Under the deal, the SPLM/A in Opposition and the SPLM government agreed to stop attacks and movement of the their forces. However, both sides exchanged accusations that the deal had been violated on Friday and Saturday, claiming that the other side was unable to control their forces.
The Lakes state government said the clashes occurred when soldiers who had defected from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) in Juba last month attempted to pass through Lakes to reach Unity state which has been a focus of the rebellion.
All routes from Lakes state's towards the capital Juba have been cleared from rebels and public transport was running normally, Colonel Majak Ruei Angong, the commissioner of Yirol West County told Sudan Tribune.
The commissioner said he and the Lakes state governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol had been working with the SPLA to clear rebels from Awerial County since Wednesday 22 January.
Commissioner Angong said the that SPLA forces and had quickly responded when the rebels entered the area and clashed with a small police unit in Kal-thok at around 9am on Wednesday leaving three policeman injured with gunshot wounds.
The mutineers had gone into hiding in the Jabel-Lado area, he said, adding that the SPLA launched an attack on the areas on Tuesday night.
"We have confirmed so far 35 dead bodies of deserters rebels", Angong said.
The Commissioner said that Governor Matur had led the operation. "I became his deputy in the fighting zone", he added.
The rebels are not using the route going towards Guol-yar in Awerial County, where thousands displaced people are sheltering, as well as towns to avoid ambushes or military confrontation, the commissioner said.
"We fought those rebels in separate attacks at Kal-thok, Gol-River, Tibek, Dhor and Pulawar, and today we are still pursuing them toward [the] bushes of Ramciel."
Ramciel, which has been considered as the location of a new capital for world's newest nation, is located in the eastern part of Yirol West County.
The SPLA forces in Ramciel were on "maximum alert" he said, claiming that the "rebels are very exhausted. "We will not let them go that way, they must learn from their own mistake", said the commissioner.