Home | News    Thursday 6 March 2014

Scores dead in S. Sudan military clashes in Juba: eyewitnesses

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March 5, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudan army (SPLA) and government has put death toll from military clashes that erupted inside the main barracks in the capital, Juba, on Wednesday at five, although there are reports that at least 30 soldiers were killed from both sides.

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An SPLA soldier walks away from a vehicle while on patrol in Juba on 21 December 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

SPLA information and communication director Brig. Gen. Malaak Ayuen described the eruption of gunfire Wednesday morning as “limited”, saying the incident broke out over a salary payment dispute and involved only a few individuals.

“What happened this morning was a very limited shooting, by a limited number of some few commandos in a very limited area,” Ayuen told a press conference in Juba on Wednesday.

Ayuen has confirmed that four officers have been arrested in connection to the incident.

Heavy gunfire was heard about 9am (local time) coming from the Geida military barracks south of Juba, the seat of the presidential brigade known as Tiger, sparking panic across the city.

A thick column of smoke could later be seen billowing from the facility, the same site where fighting erupted on 15 December between soldiers aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar and those loyal to president Salva Kiir before spreading to other regions across the country.

Kiir has accused Machar, who heads the rebel movement, of staging a coup attempt to overthrow the government.

A soldier at the scene in Juba today told Sudan Tribune that he had counted 27 bodies and , with several others injured. Other sources claimed the death toll could be at least 30, although this could not be independently confirmed.

When Sudan Tribune visited the scene earlier on Wednesday up to 18 bodies could be seen lying on the ground outside the military headquarters, including two that appeared to have been run over by tanks while attempting to flee.

An account provided by one soldier who was at the Geida barracks said the fighting broke out when soldiers in the Commando unit, under commander Gen. Gatwech Gai, opened fire on officers receiving their salary payments.

There remain conflicting reports of what sparked the shooting and Gai could not be reached for comment.

However, it is alleged that some soldiers attempted to collect the salaries on behalf of some of their colleagues who were not on the payroll, but this was refused as government employees are now required to collect payments in person.

Multiple military sources, who are part of the government’s new payment committee, told Sudan Tribune that they had been instructed not to pay those residing at UN camps or accept payment claims from a third party, regardless of the justification.

The requirement is part of a government directive to ensure wages are not paid to so-called “ghost” workers or those who do not show up during the payment period.

Cabinet affairs minister Martin Elia Lomoru also confirmed that salaries were in the process of being paid when heavy gunfire heavy erupted inside the barracks.

“I understand that salary payment was ongoing in Geida this morning, probably differences over the procedures payment may have sparked the firing,” he said.

Speaking to journalists earlier on Wednesday. Awan Guol Riak, a minister in the office of the president, denied the incident was the result of a rebellion.

“It was just a misunderstanding which arose between soldiers. The situation is now under control,” Riak said.

Gunfire could be heard overnight from the direction of Juba international airport, although the situation in Juba remains calm.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the flash of gunfire in the sky above the city.

A resident in the Munuki area, which adjoins the airport’s Thongpiny area, said soldiers exchanged fire at the junction behind parliamentary buildings, with gunfire continuing for at least 20 minutes before coming to an end after a large explosion.

Sporadic gunshots could also be heard in the Geida area, although residents said this may have been bullets exploding from a military store that is still burning after reportedly being hit by a rocket propelled grenade earlier in the day.

Large numbers of government forces were deployed in surrounding streets following the incident, with roadblocks set up on routes leading to the airport and military headquarters.

Both the US and British embassies in Juba issued advisories to their citizens in the capital.

(ST)

More reports:

Heavy fighting erupts in Juba military barracks: witnesses
Salary dispute within South Sudan army triggers heavy gunfire in Juba

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  • 6 March 01:56, by Bentiu son

    Dear Freedom fighters under democratic leader Dr Machar Teny,comrades,shut down our oilfields from Greater Upper Nile region so that those vultures won’t get any salaries for their hired mercenaries soldiers imported from Kenya,Uganda UPDF,JEM,SPLA-N plus their Gelweng militias who killings people using our oil money.Salva paid only his imported mercenaries instead of really SPLA soldiers. Oh!

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    • 6 March 02:16, by Hardlinner

      Bentiu son, your nuer oil as already been shutdown in bentiu. What other oil are you talking about?. The one flowing is entirely dinka oil from dinka area. So shut up.

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      • 6 March 05:09, by Bolman

        Let Kiir list others Gun shooting until the bullet reaching his ass

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        • 6 March 05:53, by Mi diit

          Ahahahaa...The greedy Dinka soldiers kill themselves over money/food before the whole oil is shutdown in Upper Nile and Unity states. More killings over money will occur everywhere among the Dinkas. Ugandan soldiers will have no money to hire them, and they will go back to Uganda. Lack of money will make Mrs. Akiir’s government to collapse soon.

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          • 6 March 09:00, by Projector

            Mad Diit!! You only thing South Sudan is only for Dinka and Nuer, you always appears nut in your comments. We, civilized S.Sudanese don’t care whether you fighting tribal/ traditional war. Democracy is all about Nationalism not Tribalism. Your Machar will never test the fruit of Presidency until his dead, he is just fighting aimlessly. Dead to Machar plus his followers and we’re tired of Dinka too

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            • 6 March 09:07, by Projector

              Cont. The so called Former Vice President’s/ Ministers Rebellion will never Rule South Sudan. How can you name your rebellion to :SPLA/M in-Opposition" when all of you have been sacked cos of corruption and mismanagement of public fund and for Eight years you been together, why you never rebel when all of you are in system. It’s too late now even if Kiir leaves Machar will never achieve anything.

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    • 6 March 04:22, by Johndumo14

      SOON S. Sudan gov’t forces to flash out rebels holding Malakal,nasir,akobo,pibor,is just a matter of time,you will hear sad news for president dremer,Dr Riek,
      ALL CIVILIANS ARE ADVISED TO RUN FAR TO AVOID CROSSFIRE !!
      MOVE YOUR CHILDREN,THE WEAK AND OLD PEOPLE AWAY TO THE VILLAGES UNTIL SECURITY COMES TO NORMAL,Dr Riek machar will know now what is the meaning of rebellion!!

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      • 6 March 05:52, by Mi diit

        Ahahahaa...The greedy Dinka soldiers kill themselves over money/food before the whole oil is shutdown in Upper Nile and Unity states. More killings over money will occur everywhere among the Dinkas. Ugandan soldiers will have no money to hire them, and they will go back to Uganda. Lack of money will make Mrs. Akiir’s government to collapse soon.

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        • 6 March 05:57, by Mi diit

          The commander of the Commando unit Gen Gatwech Gai could not do any thing to stop the greedy Dinka soldiers from killing themselves over food/money. The committee/cashiers were Dinka and the guys who wanted to grab money by force were also Dinkas. No Nuer soldiers were involved.

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        • 6 March 07:55, by Letigolight

          Revenue accruing to Kiir’s government has fallen to a record low due to drastic fall in the number of containers entering South Sudan, most of which are still stuck inside Uganda - over 1000 containers!; cruide oil in Bentiu already shut down and that in Upper Nile has also fallen by more than 75%!; it is also facing the threat of shut down as rail approaches, No, No, NO MONEY for KIIR!

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    • 6 March 05:22, by omoni jr.

      It is just a matter of time before the world declear that there No government in so called south sudan. Our human lives in this jungle is very cheap to be misuse and terminated at anytime without due respect and investigation. We have NO human beings here buy bunches of wild animals who love to butchered themselves without any damn reason.

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      • 6 March 05:26, by omoni jr.

        Somebody have to tell salva kiir to quit the presidency seat in order for the peace to come in. Otherwise ,this jungle will be soon called NO-MAN-LAND.

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    • 6 March 06:10, by mathem jech amer

      These Nuers they rebelled and coming back to get their salries. Those who triggered fighting want to receive salary of those of Gatdet, Riek Machar, Taban plus more in the bush with Riek, they deserve killing, no more reminants in Gieda

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    • 6 March 06:12, by mathem jech amer

      Bentiu Son
      No any Nuer oil being used as you claim, you destroyed its infatsructure and now you are feasting on Dinka oil from Poloch, shame on you

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    • 6 March 06:39, by mathem jech amer

      Rbels
      They are hiding in UNMISS base and they want to be paid. Is their payment based on what now, government or are they to be paid as rebels, definitely anyone hiding in UNMISS is a rebel, if not why should he be calling himself IDP and want to receive salary from the government they don’t want, they should follow their brothers to loot money & civilians property as their main aim

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    • 6 March 07:27, by Tata

      Bentiu Son,
      Where is your oil field? Are you the one who created that oil fields? You are not able to caltivate one feddan dura to feed yourself. How many people starved to death in Unity State? Unity, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria States were declared "Disaster Zones". Tell us about the agricultural productivities in the 130,000 feddan concessed to Egypt. Insteat of agricultural agproduction,

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    • 6 March 12:03, by Gabriel Ajak

      I wonder why our brothers from Nuer community like govt money while they r dislike govt of S.S need answer from food lovers.Hate govt Hate money fullstops.

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  • 6 March 05:26, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    I heard that Riek Machar was happy in Nasir where he is base about the incident, Why enemies of peace and stability are laughing about sporadic shooting?
    Shooting is bringing nothing to the government, government is the same mobilizing peace, good security and stability amongst its people. Riek is trading this rebellion without sweet fruit later.

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  • 6 March 05:49, by michael coma

    For your information,the peaceful Nuer is the dead one.Don’t thinks that this will be the last of hearing gun sound when Nuers are there and their fellow brothers are suffering of hunger in the bush.I heard that majority of white army have deserted war and run to Ethiopia just becoz of hunger.

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    • 6 March 05:56, by michael coma

      Some of them died of diarrhea when the looted everythings they got in Malakal and ate and drunk clorine,champoo and spirit.White army is not longer existing as they were primitive children who never attended school in their lives.

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  • 6 March 06:58, by Ajongtar

    Hahahahahahaha, even the existing Nuer in the SPLA units like Gatwic are been killed due salary differancies.
    What a hell, with the Dinka Government of self Service GOSS.
    God have marcy to the rest poeple of South Sudan.

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  • 6 March 07:18, by Guandong

    That’s false i am now in Juba. The death toll is 94 both sides. The reason is Dinka Dinka went to stole the money that proves they know their failure thus they wanted to take money with them. This act of terrifying people would not help you instead it will devastated your government.

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  • 6 March 07:32, by Tata

    March 07:27, by Tata
    Bentiu Son,
    Where is your oil field? Are you the one who created that oil fields? You are not able to caltivate one feddan dura to feed yourself. How many people starved to death in Unity State? Unity, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria States were declared "Disaster Zones". Tell us about the agricultural productivities in the 130,000 feddan concessed to Egypt. Insteat of agricu

    repondre message

    • 6 March 07:49, by Tata

      agricultural production, Egyptians confused Taban and his ministers with money to start excavation of river Bahr el Gazal water runway, which is second Jonglei Canal. When there money no maturity and analysis. Tell us, whether Taban won electiions as SPLM Unite State Chairman? Don’t fool people. We know Nuerland from WUN (where Gadet killed 1000s of Nuers and later his alley - Karbino) to Nasir.

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