Thou­sands flee fight­ing in S Sudan

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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