South Sudan’s main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO), has for the first time since outbreak of renewed violence in 2016 allowed humanitarian access to Pibor in the country.
Pibor is in the east part of the country near the Ethiopian border.
John Bol, Information Secretary for the SPLA-IO in Bieh region, said this in a statement on Friday in Juba.
BoI said that they were implementing orders from their leader, Riek Machar, allowing humanitarian access to Pibor from Akobo East County where four UN World Food Programme (WFP) boats carrying food aid to Lokurmach were dispatched.
The UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) of January-July report highlights Pibor as one of the most food insecure counties in South Sudan In February 2016.
Several humanitarian agencies like the medical charity Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), have suspended in the past operations there due to looting and attacks by gunmen on their centres.
Pibor also experiences cattle raiding, child abduction orchestrated by the Murle tribe which also poses security risks to Ethiopia’s Gambela region.
This development comes after government troops and rebels met for the first time since the renewed fighting and agreed on free movement of soldiers and humanitarian workers within their controlled territories.
Lam Gabriel, SPLA-IO spokesperson, said they would open up several roads from Yei to Lainya, Lasu and Kaya in the Central Equatoria region which has experienced heavy violence in the past.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
A peace agreement signed in 2015 to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.
The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups in September signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the five-year old conflict.