Thousands flee fighting in S Sudan
THOUSANDS fled heavy fighting in South Sudan’s capital as government soldiers and former rebels traded fire in a return to hostilities that has claimed scores of lives, threatening a shaky peace deal.
The battles are the first between the army and former rebels since rebel leader Riek Machar returned to take up the post of vice-president in a unity government in April, under an accord to end a bloody civil war.
The UN Security Council pressed South Sudan’s neighbours to help end renewed fighting in here, asking for additional peacekeepers.
The council’s 15 member countries also demanded that President Salva Kiir and Mr Machar “do their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence”.
The violence began on July 8 when brief but heavy exchanges of fire left 150 soldiers dead on both sides, according to officials. Local media gave a higher toll of around 270 killed.
The clashes on July 10 began on the western outskirts of the city, where Mr Machar’s forces and government soldiers both have bases, and then spread to other areas.
Several parts of the city were engulfed by the violence, including Gudele – where Mr Machar is headquartered – and central Tongping near the international airport, with gunfire intensifying and subsiding at different times. –