South Sudan warring sides 'stockpiling weapons' - UN

A young woman carries firewood after returning to the United Nations base outside Bentiu, at the end of the day, on 20 September 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption More than two million people have been displaced by the violence which began in 2013

Both sides in South Sudan's conflict are stockpiling weapons despite a peace deal signed in August, United Nations experts say.

In a report for the Security Council they also say that President Salva Kiir's move to create more states could "undermine" the deal.

But the Security Council decided not to impose a threatened arms embargo.

Tens of thousands of people have died since the civil war started in December 2013.

It began following a political row between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, who was accused of mounting a coup attempt.

Several peace efforts have failed, but it was thought that August's regionally-backed deal that created a power-sharing government would finally work.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Fighting has continued despite the ceasefire and peace deal agreed in August

But the UN experts say that both sides are "persistently failing to implement a permanent ceasefire" and that they are "actively expanding their stockpiles of arms and ammunition".

They also say that there are credible reports that killings and sexual violence continue in Unity state, in the north of the country, with more than 50 rapes being recorded in October.

South Sudan's elusive peace:

  • At least seven ceasefires agreed and broken since conflict started in December 2013
  • Nearly one in five South Sudanese displaced by the current conflict, from a total population of 12 million
  • Former rebel leader Salva Kiir became president of South Sudan, the world's newest state, when it gained independence in 2011
  • South Sudan has been at war for 42 of past 60 years

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There was also concern about President Kiir's plan to increase the number of states from 10 to 28.

The UN report says that this could affect the power-sharing formula enshrined in the August peace deal, given that the president would be able to appoint all the new state governors,

Security Council head British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said that more discussion was needed before a decision on an arms embargo could be made.

He said that there was a "range of views" expressed in the Security Council over what the UN should do next.

The AFP news agency reports that African countries and Russia argued there should be more time for the peace deal to work before sanctions were imposed.

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