Rebels abandon Nasir town after heavy fighting: UN

July 24, 2014 (JUBA) – Heavy fighters occurred Thursday between South Sudan army (SPLA) and its opposition forces, forcing the latter to abandon the key Upper Nile town of Nasir, the United Nations mission in the country said.

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South Sudan rebels in the bushes of Jonglei state January 31, 2014 (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

The morning clashes reportedly in the western part of Nasir town.

“There are no reports of injuries sustained by UNMISS personnel nor internally displaced persons inside the mission’s county operating base in Nasir town”, partly reads its statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

South Sudanese opposition forces launched ground attack on pro-government positions in the strategic town on July 20, violating an agreed ceasefire deal.

The United States condemned the attack, calling on both parties to “immediately” end all such attacks and fully adhere to their May 9 and June 10 commitments to cease hostilities and begin the disengagement of forces to be monitored and verified by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Monitoring and Verification Mechanism.

“The people of Nasir, as with civilians all across South Sudan, have suffered from frequent and horrific acts of violence and human rights abuses since fighting broke out in mid-December, causing widespread displacement and a worsening humanitarian crisis as civilians fear returning to their homes”, the US said in a 21 July statement.

“With famine conditions looming in some conflict-affected areas of South Sudan as early as August 2014, it is increasingly urgent that both parties immediately recommit themselves to inclusive, political negotiations,” it added.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the African Union commission chairperson, Dlamini Zuma equally condemned the rebel attacks, describing it as a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

The two warring parties, mediators said Thursday, will resume negotiations considered the best way of ending the ongoing conflict, on 30 July.