Monday, July 11, 2016

Shooting in South Sudan continues, about 300 killed

Tank in Juba. (Photo Sudan Tribune)

Heavy fighting erupted again in South Sudan's capital on Monday a day after the U.N. Security Council told rivals President Salva Kiir andVice-President Riek Machar to rein in their forces and end days of violence that have left scores dead.
The capital has been mired in fighting almost every day since Thursday when troops loyal to Kiir and soldiers backing former rebel leader Machar first clashed.There has been no official death toll but at least five soldiers died on Thursday and a Health Ministry source said 272 people, including 33 civilians, were killed on Friday. After a brief lull on Saturday, Sunday's fighting appeared even more fierce.
Shantal Persaud, spokeswoman for the U.N. mission UNMISS, told Reuters by telephone that gunfire had erupted on Monday around the U.N. headquarters in the Jebel area of Juba and also around a base near the airport. U.N. bases were hit by small arms and heavy weapons on Sunday.
The Sudan Tribune adds that  also sustained shooting have been heard in the areas of Gudele, Tongping near Juba airport. Shootings have also resumed at the airport area and sounds of heavy machine guns could be heard.
Government officials and military sources loyal to President Salva Kiir said they are shelling buildings suspected to have been used by armed opposition fighters and associates, who were targeted by their colleagues in government.Also there are those who have changed side in a show of solidarity to members of their ethnic groups killed in Friday clashes.
A number of United Nations peace keepers have been killed. Several UN sources have confirmed the death of two Rwandans and one Chinese peace keepers. Two others are also said to have been wounded.
Fighting is also reported this morning in Torit town, capital of Eastern Equatoria state, east of Juba towards the Kenyan border.
UNMISS said it was "outraged" by renewed violence in the world's newest nation, which marked five years of independence from Sudan last week.The U.N. Security Council, after an emergency meeting, told the two leaders to "do their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence" and commit themselves to their peace deal. On Friday, Kiir and Machar had been in patch-up talks after Thursday's shootings when gunfire erupted. Both said then they could not explain what happened.
The two men have long been rivals for power both in politics and on the battlefield. The civil war erupted in December 2013 a few months after Kiir sacked Machar as his deputy. They signed a peace deal in August 2015, but then spent months wrangling over details. Machar finally returned to Juba in April, at the time seen as step toward cementing peace. But experts say the failure to implement swiftly key elements, such as the re-integration and demobilization of combatants, has allowed tension to fester and risked igniting a new conflict.

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