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South Sudan says recent clashes a “failed” coup

July 23, 2016 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government claimed on Friday 8 July clashes by rival forces in the capital, Juba was an attempted coup, which “failed”.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) jump off the back of a truck while on patrol in the capital, Juba, following the December 2013 outbreak of violence (Photo: Reuters)

Fierce clashes broke out between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and bodyguards of First Vice President Riek Machar as the two leaders met to address earlier misunderstandings between their forces in Juba.

More than 270 soldiers died in clashes near the presidential palace, officials said.

“The council of ministers condemned the fighting at J1 [State House] which was actually an attempted coup that failed. There is no doubt that it was a coup,” the country’s Information Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters Friday.

He did not, however, specify who staged the alleged coup attempt in the nation’s capital.

The council minister’s meeting, chaired by president Kiir, was graced by the armed opposition faction (SPLM IO) ministers.

According to the Makuei, cabinet directed the armed opposition leadership in Juba to select a replacement for Machar, if the latter does not report to work by next week.

“There are some ministers and civil servants who have not reported to work since the fighting started and ceasefire declared. The council of ministers has directed that those people report to work this coming Monday [25 July] or face some consequences,” he said, without further elaborating on measures that would be taken.

The SPLM-IO ministers who skipped Friday’s meeting were Humanitarian Affairs minister, Hussien Mar Nyuot, Petroleum Minister Dak Bichok, Higher Education Minister, Peter Adwok Nyaba, Labour Minister, Peter Marcelo and Dams and Irrigation Minister, Mabior Garang.