Riek Machar rebels accuse President Salva Kiir’s air force of attacking their bases in Upper Nile and plastering them with bombs on Tuesday.
Col. William Gatjiath Deng, the new military spokesman of the rebel group SPLM/A-IO, told Radio Tamazuj that government helicopter gunships further bombarded their bases on Wednesday in the morning at 11:00 and in the afternoon at 16:00 and 17:00.
He said they targeted SPLA-IO forces in Lelo, Warjok and Detang on the west bank of the Nile, near the state capital Malakal.
“The regime forces in Malakal shelled the same areas using artillery, D-30s, tanks. A forces of 250 government soldiers crossed to the west bank to attack our said bases.”
Deng expressed concern that violations of the permanent ceasefire may lead to unravelling of the peace agreement.
The United Nations confirmed that helicopters carried out attacks in western Upper Nile State on Wednesday.
Stephane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, commented on Thursday, “In response to questions that were asked at the briefing on the situation in South Sudan, I can say that the UN Mission (UNMISS) is reporting that two attack helicopters were firing rockets in the direction of the west bank of the River Nile in Malakal in Upper Nile State yesterday.”
“Heavy explosions, including mortar shells, as well as heavy artillery and small arms fire were also heard coming from Malakal towards areas located on the west bank. UNMISS also reports instances of firing in Malakal earlier today.”
Areas on the west bank referred to by Dujarric have been under the control of opposition forces under General Johnson Olony since before the latest ceasefire came into effect.
The UN peacekeeping mission has condemned these “violations” of the new peace agreement, according to Dujarric.
President Kiir and his First Vice President signed a peace deal recently to end all fighting.