South Sudan: 300 Killed as Country Goes ‘Back to War’
More than 300 people are reported to have been killed in fresh violence in South Sudan.
Clashes initially broke out between troops loyal to the president and Riek Machar’s troops on Thursday. By Sunday, Machar’s spokesman announced the country is “back to war” as violence continued.
Over the weekend South Sudan was supposed to celebrate its fifth year as an independent state. The country was instead marred by the worst violence seen in months. Reports suggest more than 300 people have been killed since Thursday – including troops, civilians and a Chinese peacekeeper.
After a brief lull in clashes on Saturday violence returned Sunday, prompting Machar’s spokesman to announce a state of war once again. The UN promptly called for both sides to bring an end to the fighting and more peacekeepers to be stationed in Juba.
Peace deal fails again
Machar’s troops returned to Juba in April, as part of the peace agreement that brought him back to the capital. Tensions emerged almost instantly with the rival factions accusing each other of instigating violence. It was a fragile sense peace in the capital – one that fell apart completely on Thursday as the rival sides returned to full-blown conflict.
The clashes will undoubtedly push the international community to take renewed action against South Sudan.
“We have called for an arms embargo, this situation underlines the need for that,” Britain’s deputy permanent representative, Peter Wilson, said before a meeting on Sunday.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticised the clashes, describing them as “yet another illustration of the parties’ lack of serious commitment to the peace process and represents a new betrayal of the people of South Sudan”.