South Sudan President Salva Kiir was Wednesday evening prompted to take a ride in an open roof car across the capital Juba just to prove that he was not dead as reported.
Waving at the cheering crowds, Kiir reassured the citizens that there were no security problems in the capital and that he was still alive.
Earlier in the day, South Sudan’s Police Service and other security personnel deployed on the streets of Juba as people closed shops and scampered for their lives.
This came amid fears that the president was not only dead but that rebels would storm the capital.
Accompanied by some senior government officials, Kiir drive through the neighborhoods of Gudele, Kator, Malakia and Konyo-Konyo.
Later in the evening, President Kiir held a press conference at J1 palace calling for calm and forgiveness.
“I think seeing is the believing and for you to see me when I am said to have been died is the believing that I am alive,” Kiir told his supporters.
“Of course nobody can come to the media to deny his or her own death but this is what you have now subjected me to. I am alive and well. I want to assure my people of South Sudan that what they heard last night and this morning where all fabrications by the enemies of peace.”
Kiir said those who wishing him death don’t want peace but promised he would not accept any fighting.
“If there are elements still among us doing their job in between us, it will be a matter of time, we will handle them.”
The Interior Minister Michael Chiengiek Geay told press “some people” were spreading the rumours in order to create chaos and loot the shops.
“I would like to assure our people that the spreading rumors that there are fighting and clashes in the town are not true. Our police were in Buluk for the daily training people pick it different and has nothing to do with the problem happened in Yei road or other where,” he is quoted by Radio Tamazuj as saying.
The minister said the CID officers were in the markets to make sure nothing happens to people businesses.
He added: “We have directed our security organs especially the police administration in Jubek state to look for those who are spreading this false information should be arrested. People should stay calm in houses and do their normal duties as there town everything is under control.”
He extended condolences to the families and relatives of those who died in ambushes on the Nimule-Juba and Yei-Juba roads.
“I want to calm them that let them remain calm and nobody should take law into his or her their hands to go and revenge, it is not time for revenging, it is time for forgiveness even if we get those who have killed people. We will still forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing,” Kiir is quoted as having told press.