Home | News    Thursday 19 December 2013

Calm returns to Juba after days of political unrest

December 18, 2013 (JUBA) - Residents in the South Sudanese capital, Juba started their normal activities on Wednesday, as limited movement could be seen, three days after the violent clashes.

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Locals and foreign nationals gather at Juba International Airport as they wait for flights out of the South Sudanese capital Juba December 18, 2013 (Reuters/Hakim George)

The incident, which started Sunday night, confined many to their houses as the army battle anti-government elements, in what authorities alleged was a failed coup attempt.

Military tanks and soldiers occasionally patrolled Juba streets on Monday, while sounds of gunfire continued in and around Juba for most of the day as government said it controlled the situation.

On Wednesday, however, it was business as usual as commercial banks gradually opened their doors to clients, while Juba Airport, which was temporarily closed, resumed its normal operations.

Also, international border posts, specifically those linking Kenya and Uganda to South Sudan, previously manned by uniformed personnel, officially opened for people travelling to various destinations.

Jebel market, located less than 2 kilometers west of old military headquarters, where the fight erupted before spreading to other units and areas, started witnessing buses at its busy station.

It remains unclear as to how many people died during the unrest, with unconfirmed reports saying up to 500 people died, as thousands sought refuge at the UN premises in the capital.

BLAME GAME

However, while government largely accused former vice president, Riek Machar of being behind the skirmishes, the latter insisted it was an inside job meant to crack down on those opposed to the regime.

The country’s foreign minister said Machar should have waited for the next general elections, if he wanted to be the head of state.

“He is using wrong way if he wants to become the president. There are no elections taking place now. If he wants to become the president, he needs to wait for elections to be conducted in 2015”, Barnaba Marial Benjamin told reporters on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the fight, which initially started in Juba, spread to units and divisions outside, including SPLA’s 2nd and 8th divisions covering Jonglei, Eastern and Central Equatoria states.

There are fears the situation could escalate in to a full blown war, unless the military intervenes to suppress the worrying situation.

(ST)

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