December 20, 2013 (JUBA)- The United Nations said the security situation in the South Sudanese capital, Juba has noticeably improved, a week after violence erupted within the presidential guard forces.
- Hundreds of people arrive at UN bases in Juba on Monday as reports of violence spread (UN photo)
Juba had, in the last few days, been a scene of sporadic gun battle, which spread to other parts of the country after political disputes within governing Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.
President Salva Kiir accused his former vice-president Riek Machar of instigating the incident, an allegation the latter dismisses.
Also, a 12-hour curfew was imposed in Juba from 6pm to 6am every day, with limited civilian movement, as the army controlled streets.
The UN mission, however, said on Friday that it has lifted restrictions on the movement of its personnel and resumed patrols on a limited basis in the city and restored its flight service to and from Entebbe, Uganda.
But while normal life returns, there are still fears over the safety of civilians, mainly those living in the outskirts of the country’s capital.
“We call on the Government of South Sudan to do its utmost to end any continuing violence, make sure that all civilians feel safe all over the city, regardless of their communal background. This will also permit civilians in our camps to return home,” said Hilde Johnson, the special representative of the Secretary General to South Sudan.
An estimated over 500 people are said to have died in the last few days of the violence, while up to 35,000 are said to be displaced in UN premises within Juba, Bor and Pibor towns of Jonglei state.
Also, two Indian peace keepers were killed when armed groups attacked a UN camp in Jonglei Akobo county on Thursday. At least 20 civilians reportedly died in the incident.
The UN said it was making every effort to ensure the safety of these civilians during their stay in the facilities, while they continued receiving water supplies since their arrival.
“UNMISS again calls on all parties to the violence to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful way out of the current crisis”, said Johnson, who earlier warned against any tribal dimension to the conflict seen as political in nature.