The SPLA-In Opposition, led by First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai has instructed its forces to observe a ceasefire as talks on the revitalisation of the peace agreement are held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to a statement from the spokesperson of the SPLA-IO, all units across the country have been told to cease hostilities.
Colonel Dickson Gatluak said all their forces in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Equatoria have been told to remain in their respective places.
“It is the duty and responsibility the armed forces, especially the regular, the factions and the groups that are fighting each other in the country to cease hostilities,” he said.
Colonel Gatluak urged the other warring parties to also issue similar orders of restraint to all their forces to give peace a chance.
On Monday, when the peace talks in Addis started, rebels accused the government army of attacking one of their bases.
The other factions being appealed to are the National Salvation Front led by General Thomas Cirilo Swaka, the SPLM-Former Detainees led by Pagan Amun, the opposition group led by Dr. Riek Machar and the SPLM ruling faction led by President Salva Kiir.
Since December 2013, South Sudan has been embroiled in a conflict that started when President Kiir accused his then Vice President Riek Machar of plotting a coup.
Since then, ethnic fault lines have been reopened and several armed groups have waged war against each other, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions of people in the world’s youngest nation.
In 2015, a peace agreement was signed between the rebel factions led by Riek Machar and the government of Salva Kiir. That peace agreement, which President Kiir voiced reservations about was not respected by both parties and the fighting raged on.
Reunification agreements have also been signed for the factions within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, in Arusha and Cairo, but these too have not yielded peace.
The High Level Revitalisation Forum of the Inter Governmental Authority (IGAD) on Development has now been tasked to deliver nothing short of an agreement to halt the violence on the ground.
“What we expect the parties to do is use the forum to stop the conflict on the ground and produce a path forward,” Mr Paul Sutphin, the US State Department’s senior advisor on Sudan and South Sudan.
The African Union, the seven-nation IGAD grouping and a “troika” consisting of the US, Britain and Norway are said to be unified in their insistence that the violence must end now.