South Sudan Hit by Clashes for Second Day, Death Toll at Least 26
Khartoum – Clashes broke out again in the South Sudanese capital Juba on Tuesday, a day after President SalvaKiir said security forces had put down an attempted coup by supporters of his former deputy.Constant gunfire and explosions in the early morning were followed by a few hours of relatively calm before sporadic gunfire restarted, witnesses said.
Donald Booth, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, told the BBC: “The situation remains clearly tense and unsettled”. The fighting has killed at least 26 people and exposed deep ethnic rifts in Africa’s youngest nation, which ceded from Sudan two years ago. President SalvaKiir said on Monday the fighting between army factions was a bid to seize power by the former vice president, RiekMachar, whom he sacked in July.
The two men, from opposing ethnic groups which have clashed in the past, have long been political rivals. Analysts said divisions run deeper and rivalries in army ranks have long simmered.Poor communications in Juba, where the mobile phone system has not operated since Monday evening, meant it was difficult to obtain a broad picture of the number of dead during the clashes, which have involved heavy arms and artillery.
MakurMaturKariom, a doctor and Health Ministry official, told Reuters at least 26 people had died among the casualties brought to Juba Teaching Hospital, where he has been treating many wounded. Residents near Juba airport, which has been closed since Monday, were woken before dawn by gunshots and blasts, a U.N. worker said. Others also reported bouts of shooting. (Reuters)