Juba — The South Sudanese government said on Wednesday that it is restraining their military commanders to deter further escalation of violence in the wake of the renewed fighting with rebels after both parties signed the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) in December.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mawien Makol told Xinhua that the Sudan People's Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar are still unable to restrain their commanders which could provoke further violence.
"We are in control of our military commanders; it is they the SPLA-IO that are not in control of their commanders. Government is still committed to pursue peace and control commanders on the ground," Makol said in the capital Juba.
This came after the Tuesday warning by the Troika, a group of international peace partners that include the United States, Britain and Norway, that field commanders, and their political superiors, will be held accountable for ceasefire violation and impeding humanitarian aid.
"The Troika strongly condemns these violations. We call on all CoH signatories, and the field commanders who answer to them, to immediately end all military operations, abide by their CoH commitments, and put the South Sudanese people's well-being ahead of their own narrow political interests," the Troika said.
Some senior commanders on both sides have since been indicted by the U.S. including asset freeze and travel ban since eruption of conflict four years ago in the oil rich and yet impoverished country.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy turned rebel chief Riek Machar led to split within the SPLA, leaving soldiers to fight alongside ethnic lines.
The 2015 peace agreement to end the conflict was weakened after outbreak of renewed fighting in July 2016 caused the SPLA-in opposition rebel leader Machar to flee the capital.