Outbreak of violence in South Sudan leaves 272 dead

Violence has broken out in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, due to a conflict between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to the Vice President, Riek Machar.

So far, 272 lives have been lost.

The fighting began on Thursday, July 7, when troops loyal to Kiir stopped vehicles carrying Machar loyalists, and demanded to search them. The demand was
denied. Juba has been rocked by violence almost every since Thursday.

Kiir and Machar have been rivals for a very long time. In December 2013, civil war broke out in the country after Kiir sacked Machar as his Deputy. A peace deal was finally signed between both men in August 2015, but they spent months arguing over details of the deal. Machar finally returned to Juba in April, at the time seen as step toward cementing peace.

But experts say the failure to swiftly implement key elements of the deal, such as the re-integration and demobilization of combatants, has allowed tension to fester and risked igniting a new conflict.

Speaking on the latest violence, a Juba resident, Ramdan Kazimiro told Reuters News Agency:“I heard a sound of gunshots and people were running everywhere.”

Japan's UN Ambassador, Koro Bessho, disclosed that the UN mission in the country was hit with gunfire. A Chinese UN peacekeeper was killed and several Chinese and Rwandan peacekeepers have been injured in the violence.

Reacting to the situation, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said Kiir and Machar needed to take “decisive action” to regain control of the security situation in Juba and urged them to order their forces to disengage and withdraw to their bases.

“I am deeply frustrated that despite commitments by South Sudan’s leaders, fighting has resumed. This senseless violence is unacceptable and has the potential of reversing the progress made so far in the peace process,” the UN Chief said.

The outbreak of violence has ignited fears about a renewed conflict in the young nation.

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