War Looms in South Sudan After Violent Clashes
Renewed violence in South Sudan engulfed the capital, Juba, as fierce clashes between rival military factions erupted. The violence resulted in the death of hundreds of people, mostly soldiers.
At least 272 people have died in the fighting, a health ministry source told the Reuters news agency early on Sunday.
The clashes stemmed from the warring supporters of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Riek Machar Teny, a former rebel leader and currently first vice president.
The bloody violence that started on Thursday also displaced at least 10,000 people. Fear of all-out conflict in the five-year-old country triggered mass evacuation as well.
The Start of the Clashes
According to media reports, the heavy firefight between military rivals erupted on Friday outside the presidential compound as Kiir was meeting with Machar. The skirmishes quickly spread throughout Juba.
The aftermath of the violence left many soldiers dead on the lawn of the presidential compound.
In addition, frightened civilians ran for safety and started to move out from Juba.
US Condemns Violence in South Sudan
In a press statement in Washington DC, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson John Kirby said the US strongly condemns the latest outbreak of fighting in Juba. Kirby called for restraint between the warring parties.
“We again call on both leaders and their political allies and commanders to immediately restrain their forces from further fighting.” – John Kirby
Mr. Kirby also stressed that the US will call for an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council to address the situation.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after a majority of the population voted for self-determination and to break away from Sudan.
In December 2013, soldiers from Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group tried to disarm Nuer soldiers known to be loyal to Machar. But the move turned bloody. It escalated to become a civil war that has left least 50,000 dead, and more than 2 million displaced. AlmostKirby 5 million people faced severe food shortages.
Violence in South Sudan: US Withdraws Staff
The worsening situation in the African country led the US to withdraw more staff from the embassy. It also drew international concern and pressured the warring parties to signed a peace accord.
Under a peace deal signed in August, Kiir became president of the country and Machar the first vice president. However, the fighting continued and fear of an all-out war started to hunt the African nation. Violence in South Sudan appears never-ending.Violence in South Sudan