President Salva Kiir, under international pressure to reach a compromise agreement with rebel leader Riek Machar, surprised mediators on Monday when he refused to sign the peace agreement after days of negotiations, saying he needs more time to consult.
That decision has been condemned by the international community, with the U.S. saying it will pursue new U.N. sanctions as a consequence.
With fresh reports of aggression between the country’s warring factions, it remains unclear if Kiir will ever sign the deal, which includes provisions on how to share power with Machar and also calls for a demilitarized capital.
Now there is fighting in Manyo County in the state of Upper Nile, close to the border with Sudan, with rebels trying to take areas controlled by government troops, said South Sudanese military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer.
There also was fighting Tuesday in Eastern Equatoria state between the capital, Juba, and the town of Nimule on the border with Uganda. There previously had been no fighting in this area, suggesting the rebels are trying to open a new front, he said.
Aguer accused the rebels of starting the latest round of violence. A rebel spokesman, Maj. Gen. James Chuol, blamed government troops for launching the first attack on Tuesday.
It was not possible to independently verify the various allegations.
South Sudan has been at war since December 2013, when a split within the security forces in Juba escalated into a violent rebellion led by Machar, who commands the loyalty of some senior army officers and soldiers.
Kiir’s ethnic Dinka people are pitted against Machar’s Nuer.