World Bulletin / News Desk
South Sudan ambassador to Kenya, Chol Ajongo, told reporters in Nairobi on Tuesday that the official death toll from days of fighting stands at 272.
Both South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and rebel leader-turned-vice president Riek Machar called for a unilateral cease-fire on Monday in the capital Juba after several days of fierce battles between their respective forces.
Fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital on Friday, with heavy weapons such as tanks, helicopter gunships and artillery involved, leaving thousands of people displaced or seeking shelter in United Nations properties.
Ajonjo accused Machar supporters of spreading rumors on social media that the former rebel leader had been arrested, sparking the violence.
The ambassador also confirmed that a number of people had been killed at UN compounds in Juba.
Responding to calls from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development for the two warring parties to recall their armed forces and heavy weaponry from Juba, Ajongo said he had “never seen an army which is armed with sticks; we are not exceptions unless you want to tell the South Sudanese people that they have to be armed with either water guns or sticks.
“That army will protect the sovereignty and the lives of the people of South Sudan,” he added.