By Parach Mach
JUBA, South Sudan
Former rebels aligned with Vice President Riek Machar on Wednesday accused the South Sudanese government of arrests and killings they said could drag the country back to civil war.
“If the government does not take good care of this case and the arrested opposition members are not released, then this may take us back to war because that's the only solution for the government to free our soldiers and officials," spokesman Col. William Gatjiath Deng told journalists.
Forces that were led by Machar during South Sudan’s two-year civil war have complained that the security and intelligence have targeted their members for arrest and killing in recent days.
They have said 139 have been arrested while off-duty and named Lt. Col. George Gismallah as among those killed at the weekend.
Deng said the arrests and killings are a violation of a cease-fire deal agreed with the government last August.
South Sudan Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said the army had received information about the allegations. “We are aware about such accusations and a meeting has been convened to discuss them,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Fighting that broke out in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup. The conflict resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2.4 million people.