by WorldTribune Staff, July 11, 2016
Fighting in South Sudan’s capital Juba has killed more than 300 people and threatens to return the embattled new nation to all-out civil war.
The new fighting erupted on July 7 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and soldiers who back Vice-President Riek Machar. The dead included a number of civilians and a Chinese peacekeeper, reports said.
On July 9, South Sudan celebrated its fifth anniversary of independence from Sudan, but the fighting flared again on July 10 and 11.
Related: South Sudan hell no longer touted by Obama as foreign policy success, April 20, 2016
Machar said his loyalists had been bombarded on July 11 by Kiir’s forces, which he said showed the president was “not interested in peace.”
“I urge calm and restraint throughout these skirmishes. I’m safe. No one should take laws in their own hands to destabilize this country,” Machar wrote on his official Twitter account.
South Sudan’s civil war was fought largely along ethnic lines with Kiir being a Dinka and Machar a Nuer. The two have yet to integrate their forces – a key part of the peace deal.
The renewed fighting also saw a UN camp for displaced people hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, according to officials. Up to 2,000 civilians are believed to have sought sanctuary in the camps in recent days.