S.Sudan fighting forces 40,000 to flee in 4 days

"The situation is quiet near the airport," said August Mayai, a local resident. "There are people in the streets."

S.Sudan fighting forces 40,000 to flee in 4 days

World Bulletin / News Desk

A fragile ceasefire appeared to be holding in South Sudan's capital Juba after four days of gun battles that have left hundreds of people dead and sent nearly 40,000 fleeing.

It was too early to tell on Tuesday whether the ceasefire called by both President Salva Kiir, and his longtime opponent Vice President Riek Machar, would last, but the lull allowed civilians to leave their homes.

There were no helicopter gunships in the sky, no tanks on the streets, no artillery barrages and soldiers in their machine gun-mounted pick-up trucks appeared to have stayed in their barracks.

The calm was welcomed by Juba residents who have stayed mostly indoors for days as fighting intensified between Kiir's government forces and former rebels loyal to Machar.

Traders returning to once-busy markets found their shops and stalls looted.

Volunteers and officials from South Sudan's Red Cross set about the grim task of collecting bodies of the dead.

There has been no estimate so far of civilian or military casualties from the heavy clashes Sunday and Monday but Adama Dieng, the United Nations' Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, said some civilians, "were reportedly targeted based on their ethnicity."

Kiir is from the Dinka tribe and Machar a Nuer. South Sudan's civil war has been characterised by ethnic massacres between the two groups -- including in Juba -- as well as rape, sexual slavery, murder and the use of child soldiers.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Temmuz 2016, 09:33