South Sudan's leader in phone talks with rebel leader over renewed clashes

South Sudan's leader in phone talks with rebel leader over renewed clashes

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Monday called on rebel leader Riek Machar to discuss the latest reports of fighting in Yei days after the warring parties signed a revitalized peace deal to end the five-year strife in the east African nation, Xinhua reported.

Kiir told the crowds of mourners that he telephoned rebel leader early Monday to discuss reports of fighting in parts of Yei River State that has been ongoing for the last three days.

"I called him and ask him why he is still fighting the government forces when we have signed the agreement. So I told him what is this? Is it the acquisition of more territories, or what," Kiir said.

Kiir who was speaking in Juba during a memorial ceremony organized to honor the 20 victims of last week's Yirol plane crash said he asked the opposition leader Machar to order his forces to cease attacking government troops for the sake of peace.

"I do not want us to go back to war again. So you talk to your field commanders in the field so that they don't attack us again." Kiir told congregation of mourners.

The president said the recently signed revitalized peace agreement marked the end of five years of civil war in the oil-rich country.

"I want to assure the citizens that the agreement we have just signed has ended the war. Your suffering provided the primary motivation for this government to pursue peace by all means necessary," Kiir added.

The latest clashes in which a Nepalese peacekeeper was attacked comes less than a week after the parties to South Sudan's five-year old conflict signed a peace deal in neighboring Ethiopia on Sept. 13.

South Sudan's conflict erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar engaged in combat.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was violated in July 2016 when rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile. Millions of South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict rages on.

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