Rebels fighting the government of South Sudan have accused Juba of breaking a ceasefire, just over a week after the agreement was reached between the two sides.
On Monday, the rebels accused the forces royal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir of destroying the town of Leer.
Rebel spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said government soldiers and fighters allied with them “advanced on Leer town on February 1, destroying everything on their path. (President Salva) Kiir’s forces burned down the whole of Leer town and the entire surrounding villages.”
The rebel spokesman also held soldiers responsible for killing women, children, and elderly people, saying that the operation in Leer, the home town of former Vice President and rebel leader Riek Machar “has no strategic, operational, or tactical importance.”
Meanwhile, officials have denied clashes in Leer and accused the rebels of carrying out deadly attacks against civilians across the country.
Officials in Jonglei State’s Bor say the rebels there have caused destruction and killed a number of people.
“They are not actually fighting the army; they are fighting the civilians,” said Major Deng Maketh, a commander of a battalion in Mathaing, outside Bor.
South Sudan has been witnessing deadly fighting since December 15, 2013, when the country’s president accused Machar, his sacked deputy, of attempting to stage a coup.
The conflict turned into a war between Kiir’s Dinka tribe and Machar’s Nuer ethnic group. Reports say as many as 10,000 people have lost their lives in the violence.