South Sudan capital calm after president ordered ceasefire
Calm has returned to Juba, South Sudan, following ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir after fighting between the army and former rebel leader, Riek Machar’s troops, claimed many lives.
A report on Tuesday said that Machar, who was sworn in as Kiir’s deputy in April, said that he had also ordered his forces to observe a ceasefire.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah Young, Machar’s Spokesman, said that he did not know where the vice president was and was unable to comment.
“I haven’t heard any reports of new fighting.
“People were beginning to venture outside, though but we are not even close to coming back to normality,” he said.
Young said that the presidency on Sunday put the death toll at 270 since Friday, but that the figure was now believed to be higher.
He said that the fatalities included two UN peacekeepers, who the Chinese state broadcaster confirmed as China nationals, and eight people killed in or near UN camps for displaced people.
The spokesman said that thousands of people fled the fighting spots to churches, schools, aid agency compounds, suburbs or towards neighbouring Uganda.
He said that an estimated 30,000 of the displaced people had remained in Juba.
Mawien Atak, a soldier patrolling in Jebel neighbourhood, where the army reportedly attacked Machar’s positions, confirmed that most of the shops had been burnt or looted.
Army spokesman, Lul Koang, said that the army was respecting the ceasefire, adding that civilians who had fled the fighting were returning home.
Theresa Jumbili, a resident of Wau in the north-west, said that the fighting was also reported to have spread to other towns.
She said that she had fled gunfire to a cathedral.
“There were gunshots in the early Tuesday morning, but it has stopped now,’’ she said.
Clashes erupted between the army and the rebels on Thursday, followed by fighting on Friday near the presidential palace.
The fresh outbreak of violence dealt a blow to hopes of peace after Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement in August, 2015 and formed a national unity government in April.
A power struggle between the two escalated into an armed conflict in December, 2013, killing tens of thousands and displacing more than two million people.