[QODLink]
Africa

Heavy gunfire rocks South Sudan capital

Senior army officer cited by news agencies says rival factions of the country's military exchanged fire.

Last updated: 16 Dec 2013 08:51
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Heavy gunfire has rocked South Sudan capital, Juba, as rival factions of the country's military clashed, a senior army officer said.

Colonel Philip Aguer, the South Sudan military spokesman, said some military installations in Juba had come under attack from armed soldiers who have since been repulsed.

The officer gave no further details, saying an investigation was under way and that the situation was tense but not likely to deteriorate.

"So far the army is in full control of Juba,'' Aguer said.

An Associated Press reporter saw heavily armed soldiers patrolling the streets of Juba early on Monday amid sporadic gunfire emerging from Juba's main army barracks.

There has been political tension in the world's youngest nation since South Sudan President Salva Kiir sacked Riek Machar as his deputy in July.

Machar, who has expressed a willingness to contest the presidency in 2015, said after his sacking that if the country is to be united it cannot tolerate a "one man's rule". His sacking, part of a wider dismissal of the entire Cabinet by Kiir, had followed reports of a power struggle within the ruling party.

The local Sudan Tribune newspaper reported on its website that clashes erupted late on Sunday between members of the presidential guard.

The fighting seemed to pit soldiers from Kiir's Dinka tribe against those from the Nuer tribe of Machar.

Citizen advisory

In a message to US citizens on Monday, the US embassy in Juba said it had received "reports from multiple reliable sources of ongoing security incidents and sporadic gunfire in multiple locations'' across Juba.

"The U.S. Embassy has not been able to confirm that gunfire and insecurity have fully ceased,'' the message said.

"The embassy recommends that all U.S. citizens exercise extra caution at all times. The U.S. Embassy will continue to closely monitor the security environment in South Sudan, with particular attention to Juba city and its immediate surroundings, and will advise US citizens further if the security situation changes."

Hilde Johnson, special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for South Sudan, said in a statement that the UN mission in Juba was "deeply concerned" over the fighting that broke out late on Sunday and which continued on Monday.

"As the Special Representative of the Secretary General I urge all parties in the fighting to cease hostilities immediately and exercise restraint,'' the statement sad.

"I have been in touch regularly with the key leaders, including at the highest levels to call for calm.'' 

402

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.