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South Sudan: 213 killed in fighting in Juba

11th Jul 2016
South Sudan: 213 killed in fighting in Juba

By Parach Mach

 

JUBA, South Sudan (AA): Fighting in South Sudan’s capital continued Sunday as forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar clashed for the third day in a row. 213 people have been killed in the fighting at the weekend.

The fresh flare-up in Juba has prompted international calls for restraint.

The latest outbreak of violence comes barely two months after the formation of a transitional government of national unity to end more than two years of bloody civil war in the world’s youngest nation.

South Sudan army’s Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Malong Awan told Anadolu Agency the military was aware of “anti-peace elements” planning to drag the country back into conflict.

“The SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] will not tolerate such activities and will act according to the law to protect civilians,” Gen. Awan said.

However, a spokesman for Machar, James Gatdet Dak, posted a statement online claiming the former rebels’ “partner” in government was unable to control its forces.

The two sides also traded accusations over fighting in the city’s Jebel area with the official military saying it prevented “opposition forces” from advancing into central Juba.

Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ellen Margrethe Loj, on Saturday urged forces loyal to Kiir and Machar to end hostilities.

Several peace deals, including a 2014 permanent cease-fire, have been reached before, only to be broken amid mutual recriminations.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan in a statement also condemned the resumption of fighting in Juba Sunday. It said the fighting “is severely impacting on the civilian population.

“Both UNMISS compounds in Juba have sustained impacts from small arms and heavy weapons fire. The United Nations urges all parties to respect the sanctity of the United Nations and condemns any deliberate targeting of United Nations premises and its personnel,” the statement added.

“The heavy fighting in Juba town, including in close proximity to the UNMISS compounds at UN House Jebel and Tomping has prompted approximately 1,000 internally displaced people to flee from the UNMISS protection of civilians site [PoC] 1 into the UNMISS compound at UN House Jebel.

“The heavy fighting downtown Juba has forced hundreds of civilians to seek protection at UNMISS’ Tomping base. The United Nations is gravely concerned about reports that armed forces have prevented civilians from seeking protection,” the statement said.

Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday released a statement saying he had contacted Kiir and urged him to ensure stability would be restored as soon as possible for the sake of the South Sudanese people.

“It is with profound regret that we have observed the renewed fighting unravel in South Sudan. This is truly a very sad and difficult time for our neighbor. We join the region, and the global community, in calling for a cessation to these brutal actions that endanger the lives of ordinary citizens,” Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan leader has been among key mediators who travelled to South Sudan on numerous occasions to try and broker a peace agreement between the two warring parties.

Kenyatta added that he asked the warring sides “to urgently move heavy weaponry and huge contingents of soldiers out of civilian spaces of the capital Juba.”

Meanwhile, Kenya Airways suspended all flights to Juba due to the ongoing violence.

South Sudan was thrown into civil war in Dec. 2013 two years after gaining independence from Sudan in 2011. Kiir accused his sacked deputy-turned-rebel-leader Machar of plotting a coup, an accusation Machar denied.

Since then, tens of thousands of people have died and more than 2.4 million have been displaced from their homes.

*Anadolu Agency Correspondents Felix Tih from Ankara and Magdalene Mukami from Nairobi contributed to this report.

peace dealPresident Salva KiirRiek MacharSouth SudanSouth Sudan conflict
Author Felix Nkambeh Tih,Ekip

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