Fresh gunfire in Juba, Ban calls for calm


SPLA soldiers

Fighting has resumed in the South Sudan capital Juba, Sunday evening.

Opposition forces have now closed Luri and Yei roads in a bid to stop advances and further attacks by government troops.

On Saturday, gunmen attacked Yei army barracks and left one soldier wounded, just after Friday clashes at the presidential palace claimed 272 lives.

First vice president Riek Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak confirmed the resumption of gunfire in the capital.

Earlier in the afternoon, he said SPLA raided his boss’s home with heavy artillery and tanks.

The regional bloc IGAD and UN Security Council have summoned emergency meetings to discuss the renewed conflict.

The United Nations again called for calm in the wake of heavy fighting in and around the South Sudanese capital of Juba, with the UN mission reporting that it has mobilized peacekeepers to protect civilians and the Security Council strongly condemning days of violence in the area, which also saw UN and diplomatic officials targeted, as the world’s youngest country on Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of its independence.

The heavy fighting in downtown Juba has forced hundreds of civilians to seek protection at UNMISS’ Tomping base.

Just two days ago, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that South Sudan has spent much of its short life at war with itself, riven by a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar that erupted into full-blown conflict late in 2013.

Some 2.4 million people fled their homes in fear, before an August 2015 peace deal ended the major offensives.

The country marked the fifth anniversary of its independence on 9 July.

Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability has spread to previously unaffected areas in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal regions.

This past month, deadly clashes in Wau resulted in the deaths of more than 40 people, while up to 35,000 fled their homes.

Late yesterday, the UN Security Council strongly condemned the fighting in Juba, South Sudan between soldiers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition, which took place on 7-8 July.

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