South Sudan Army Vows to Fight Ex-Rebels If North Clashes Go On

South Sudan’s army vowed to fight former rebels who are participating in a transitional government in the capital if hostilities continue with their insurgent allies in the oil-producing country’s north.

The military battled rebels this week in crude-rich Unity state. Opposition spokesman William Gatjiath Deng said nine combatants were killed, including seven government soldiers, after the rebels came under attack. Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang accused the insurgents of initiating the violence.

The clashes are “proof” that the opposition “are nothing more than armed idiots commanded by irrational and irresponsible commanders,” Koang told reporters Friday in the capital, Juba. “The continued offensive posture during peace time will cause more harm than good and their recklessness might lead to renewed hostilities.”

Former rebel leader Riek Machar, accompanied by more than 1,370 of his fighters, joined President Salva Kiir to form a transitional administration in Juba at the end of April. The deal seeks to end a 29-month civil war that’s left tens of thousands of people dead and forced 2 million from their homes.