Splits in Rebellion Make South Sudan Peace Deal Harder, UN Says

The Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur on Aug. 15, 2017.

Photographer: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

The splintering of South Sudan’s rebellion is complicating the task of bringing an end to the almost four-year civil war, the head of the United Nations mission said.

David Shearer, who took the helm of UN operations in the East African country in January, said the emergence of new armed groups in the southern Equatoria region over the past year has added more challenges for mediators.

“We cannot have peace when armed groups are fighting and what we are seeing in Equatoria is the breakup into smaller groups,” he told reporters Friday in the capital, Juba.

The conflict in the oil-producing nation has claimed tens of thousands of lives since December 2013, with fighters loyal to President Salva Kiir and the main rebel leader Riek Machar both accused of atrocities. A transitional government formed in April 2016 was thrown into turmoil just weeks later, when Machar and his forces were driven from Juba in further violence. Kiir’s government says the peace deal is still being implemented, even after fighting spread to previously peaceful regions.

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