South Sudan is back to war, claims Vice President Machar’s faction

Juba, July 10 (IANS) As hundreds were reported killed in clashes between rival factions in South Sudan since Friday, the newest country of the world apparently slipped into a war on Sunday, BBC reported.

Col William Gatjiath, spokesman for Vice-President Riek Machar’s military, told BBC that the country was “back to war”, and added President Salva Kiir “isn’t serious” about a peace agreement.

At least 150 people were killed in fighting on Friday, before calm was restored on Saturday. Local radio station Radio Tamazuj reported that the toll from those clashes may be as high as 271.

Friday’s exchanges were apparently sparked by a shootout between bodyguards of Kiir and Machar. The two rivals met at the presidential palace on Friday, and issued a call for calm, BBC reported.

The government has not responded to Col Gatjiath’s comments.

But Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told South Sudanese television that “the situation is normal and it is under full control”.

Government troops responded when Machar’s forces attacked a checkpoint, he said, adding that those forces have now been scattered.

Col Gatjiath told BBC “hundreds” of Machar’s troops had died on Sunday, and that troops loyal to Machar were advancing on Juba from different directions.

The violence has raised fears of renewed instability, with a 2015 peace deal failing to quell unrest.



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