December 16, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has accused former vice-president Riek Machar of alleged involvement in Sunday’s attack on a military base in the country’s capital, Juba.
- President Salva Kiir and defence minister Koul Manyang Juuk addressing the press on Monday morning (Photo: GOSS/Thomas Keneth)
Speaking at a press conference in Juba, Kiir, who was clad in full military attire, said “a group of soldiers allied to the former vice-president Dr Riek Machar and his group” attacked the army headquarters near Juba University.
“These attacks continued until this morning”, said Kiir, who was flanked by his deputy, James Wani Igga.
Sporadic gunfire, which started on Sunday evening, rocked the capital and continued on Monday morning, sending residents into panic as soldiers were deployed to the streets and strategic areas.
Describing Machar as a “prophet of doom [who] continues to persistently pursue his actions of the past”, Kiir made reference to the 1991 split in which the ex-vice president defected from the southern-based rebel group during its civil war with Sudan.
“However, I would like to inform you, at the outset, that your government is in full control of the security situation in Juba”, said Kiir, who is also commander-in-chief of the national army (SPLA).
“The SPLM is fully committed to the peaceful and democratic transfer of power and will never allow political power to be transferred through violence”, he added.
Unconfirmed reports, however, say residents within Juba and its outskirts were fleeing the capital, but Sudan Tribune could not independently verify these reports.
CURFEW IN JUBA
Meanwhile, the South Sudanese leader has announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Juba, saying justice would prevail on those behind the attack.
“The curfew will start from 6pm to 6am local time in Juba”, Kiir told reporters.
HUNDREDS CAMP AT UNMISS
The United Nations said hundreds of civilians, mainly women and children, have sought refuge in their compound adjacent to the country’s airport, as well as their base in Jebel Kujur area.
“While UNMISS is not a humanitarian operator, and our mandate is to protect civilians, basic water supplies and medical treatment are being provided. We hope the security situation in Juba will quickly normalise to enable the civilians to return very soon to their residential areas”, it said in a statement.
The UN also called on all parties to show restraint, dismissing reports that it was harbouring key political or military figures linked to the incident.
US ADVISES ITS CITIZENS
Meanwhile, the United States embassy in Juba advised its citizens in the country to exercise extra caution at all times.
“The US 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”, it said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.