Death toll rises to 270 as violence flares in S Sudan

Clashes continue between the forces of the young country's president and 1st vice-president; UN condemns violence

Death toll rises to 270 as violence flares in S Sudan

World Bulletin / News Desk

Escalating violence between former rebels and government forces in South Sudan’s capital Juba since Friday has claimed the lives of more than 270 people, including two Chinese United Nations peacekeepers, according to government and foreign officials. 

According to China’s Defense Ministry Monday, the two UN peacekeepers were killed and six others were injured after a shell hit an armored vehicle carrying UN troops. 

Hundreds of people have died amid continuing fighting since Friday, as opposition forces loyal to the county's First Vice-President Riek Machar and government South Sudanese army-Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir battle each other in Juba. 

South Sudanese authorities in a statement on Sunday evening in the Presidential Palace said the death toll from Friday's fighting could rise, as over 270 lives have been lost. 

The statement said 44 government soldiers, five policemen, and 190 fighters – allegedly Machar’s bodyguards – were killed in Friday’s clashes alone. 

Heavy blasts were heard around Juba Monday in the areas of Gudele, Tongpiny, and Gurey, including the Jebel area where Machar is staying. 

Information Minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei said that government forces are in control of the whole city except for isolated pockets of opposition. 

"The whole incident was ignited by the SPLA-IO [Sudan People's Liberation Army in Opposition], and government forces have managed to chase them out of town in order to protect the civil population," he added. 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement Monday saying he was shocked and appalled by the escalating violence in Juba and demanded that Kiir and Machar stop the violence. 

"This senseless violence is unacceptable and has the potential of reversing the progress made so far in the peace process," Ban said. 

Festus Mogae, chairman of the Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (JMEC), a body tasked with implementation of the peace deal reached last year, appealed for immediate cessation of hostilities and an immediate return to implementing the peace agreement. 

He called on the parties to the conflict to avoid any further loss of life and destruction of property. 

South Sudan slid back again into chaos two months after the formation of a transitional government of national unity to end two years of bloody civil war which erupted in December 2013 when Kiir accused his sacked deputy Machar of attempting a coup. 

In the war, tens of thousands of people have died, more than 700,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries, and another 2.4 million have been displaced from their homes.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Temmuz 2016, 15:23