Heavy fighting has been reported in South Sudan’s capital Juba involving presidential guards and the military

The fighting has lasted several hours, with residents in juba hearing heavy gunshots and artillery fire as early as 6:00am.

The fighting is said to be as a result of a failed coup attempt.

The fighting is believed to be as a result of the widening split between President Salva Kiir and sacked vice president Riek Machar.

The government of South Sudan is yet to issue a statement on the clashes that have sent shockwaves across the war-torn country.

As gunshots and loud explosions continue to spread around juba, sources said the juba international airport has temporarily been closed.

Two television stations are also reported to have been shut down.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s army has warned residents of the capital, Juba, to remain in their homes.

“We request people to remains in their residences until we establish the actual cause of the shootings”, Phillip Aguer, the SPLA’s spokesperson told Sudan Tribune.

Aguer said the army regrets the unfortunate incident which has left the Juba population in a state of panic, but gave no further details on casualties involved.

International airprt shutdown as fighting continues

International airprt shutdown as fighting continues

That was a report from Citizen news: More on AP follows

Attempted coup in South Sudan

By TOM ODULA, Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A South Sudanese official says a group of disgruntled soldiers and politicians led by a former vice president have attempted to overthrow the government.

South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Monday some troops within the main army base raided the weapons store and were repulsed. Benjamin says casualties from fighting Monday morning are still unknown.

He says some politicians have been arrested but could not confirm if former Vice President Riek Machar, who he said led the attempt, was among them.

The president has ordered a dawn to dusk curfew. Tension has been mounting in the world’s youngest nation since South Sudan President Salva Kiir fired Machar as his deputy in July. Machar has expressed a willingness to contest the presidency in 2015.

 

BBC news follows

‘coup attempt’ – Heavy gunfire and explosions have been heard throughout the night in the South Sudanese capital Juba.

BBC;-Local media said the fighting was between rival factions of the presidential guard and focused around their military barracks.Heavily armed troops are now patrolling Juba, and army spokesman Col Phillip Aguer told the BBC the military was in full control.
The UN expressed concern and appealed for all sides to show restraint.President Salva Kiir is expected to make a statement shortly.South Sudan formally split from Sudan in 2011, after decades of conflict. But the oil-rich country is ethnically and politically divided, with many armed groups active.Tensions have been particularly high since President Kiir dismissed his entire cabinet, including his deputy Riek Machar, in July in an apparent power struggle.Mr Machar had indicated he planned to contest the presidential elections in 2015.

Mr Kiir is from the Dinka community, which is the largest in South Sudan, while Mr Machar is from the Nuer, the second-largest. Some Nuer have complained about Dinka political domination.
UN concern

The fighting in Juba reportedly broke out overnight, and intensified in the early morning.

The Paris-based Sudan Tribune said the clashes began when one mostly Nuer unit of the presidential guard became suspicious of deployments of a group of mainly Dinka guards.

There were reports of continuous gunfire and the sound of explosions.

State TV channel SSTV was off air and the city’s airport has been closed.

The situation had reportedly calmed by mid-morning, but heavily armed troops were seen on the capital’s streets.

One resident who lives near the presidential guard barracks told the BBC that many people had sought refuge at a Catholic church.

Col Aguer said the army was “establishing the facts about the identity of those who started the fighting”.

“The military intelligence is gathering information. As soon as the situation is cleared, the government will come up and the army will make a statement about what it was,” he said.

Hilde Johnson, the UN’s special representative in South Sudan, said she was “deeply concerned” about the fighting and urged “all parties in the fighting to cease hostilities immediately and exercise restraint”.

“I have been in touch regularly with the key leaders, including at the highest levels to call for calm,” she said.

The UN mission in Juba said earlier that staff there were under lockdown.

The UK and US embassies in Juba urged their citizens via Twitter to stay indoors and exercise caution.

The US statement to citizens said it had suspended all routine services amid “reports from multiple reliable sources of ongoing security incidents and sporadic gunfire in multiple locations across Juba”.

The US embassy also denied rumours that Mr Machar had taken shelter there.

In a second statement, the US said embassy staff had spoken to a range of officials and concerned parties “in order to urge calm, restraint, and a settling of differences through a peaceful political means rather than through violence”.
Source: BBC

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Posted by on December 16, 2013. Filed under FEATURED. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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