South Sudan: Curfew imposed after ‘attempted coup’

South Sudan President Salva Kiir announced an overnight curfew for civilians Monday after what he characterized as a failed coup attempt.

Barrages of gunfire broke out at two presidential guard barracks in the capital, Juba, in the early hours of the morning amid suspicions that a coup attempt was triggered by a faction of soldiers loyal to Kiir’s former deputy, Riek Machar. Witnesses confirmed that heavy machine guns and mortars were used.Sudan-and-South-Sudan-1956-border.jpg

Several people were reported wounded, and hundreds of others sought refuge at United Nations facilities in Juba. The city’s airport was closed, and the country’s borders with Uganda and Kenya have reportedly been shut.

The state television channel briefly went off the air before it resumed with an address by Kiir to the South Sudanese people.

“This was an attempted coup,” Kiir, clad in a military uniform rather than his usual civilian dress, told citizens in the address. He accused Machar of plotting the mutiny.
“Your government is in full control of the situation in Juba. The attackers fled, and your forces are pursuing them. I promise you justice will prevail,” Kiir said.

Officials said that some arrests had been made, but Machar’s spokesman said he was safe, and denied reports that Machar was among the detainees.

Tensions have been high in the world’s youngest country since Kiir, who belongs to the dominant Dinka tribe, dismissed Machar in July. Machar belongs to the Nuer tribe, which is the second-largest among South Sudan’s 500 tribes. Nuer members have often complained of the Dinkas’ monopoly on high-ranking political posts.

Since his dismissal, Machar has been leading a faction within Kiir’s ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, against the current president. Machar has also announced that he will run for the presidency in the 2015 elections.

In a statement, U.N. Special Representative Hilde Johnson expressed deep concerns over the fighting, adding that she is in touch with high South Sudanese figures in order to try to bring an end to the conflict.

“I urge all parties in the conflict to cease hostilities immediately and exercise restraint,” Johnson’s statement read.

South Sudan has struggled with ethnic and tribal tensions since its independence from Sudan in 2011. Persistent attempts by the South Sudanese Coptic Church have failed to unite the country’s population, much of which practices indigenous religions.

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Source: Associated Press via LATimes.

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Comments

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  2. Abach says:

    South Sudan People should not forget that Uganda is their home country and during the 21 liberation war they needed the help of Uganda in all aspects, I wonder why they have all the guts to condemn Uganda, when we have lost Ugandans for their liberation, Ugandan blood poured in South Sudan and now we say Uganda should leave South Sudan alone, by the way our president communicated IGAD position not Ugandas position, are people myophic in thinking and reasoning, the meeting was held in Nairobi not in Uganda, I think we need to let go the South sudanese in Uganda to their Country because the very ones enjoying the peace in Uganda that was faught by the president they are condemning are just foolishly making statements that make more people in their country suffer and die, why cannt condemn machars acts as devolic, babaric and unconstitutional and or inhuman. Brethreins we may pretend but the end of South Sudan will finally come as a genocide if we who claim to be defending the Machars acts dont think otherwise am Sorry

  3. Abach says:

    My fellow people of Africa, lets see this happening in South Sudan as a bad act and play a key role in helping our fellow Africans, our leaders who claim to be fighting for us are murderings us mercilessly, for exaple how do you really kill the national army in the Name of fighting Salva kiir, Salva kiir will leave the presidency as a person, but the wounds inflicted among the Dinka and Nuer will never heal, My brother Machar however much you enjoy popular support from the Nuer who originate the command of the SPLA, Gid is watching the innocent bllod of our brothers and Sisters of South Sudan poured each minute and hour, are you leading coffins? and mass graves, the challenge with the Governments is that they have to aggressively defend their position as democratically elected Government and within the process we lose our innocent Africans, am deeply worried, very sorry and cry with pain the bodies of the comrades in combat being slain on tribal basis.
    Excuse me brothers and sisters, lets Pray for Gods intervention, I believe and have faith that even as I write this mail within the seconds and minutes, God will speak to Machar and Salva kiir to stop the killing and South Sudanese must recognise that military take over of Government will never help.ALMIGHTY GOD HEAR MY PRAYERS AND DELIVER US FROM THIS DOOM AND LET OUR BLOOD STAINED LEADERS REPENT AND HAVE MERCY ON OUR BROTHERS, GOD QUICKLY COME TO OUR RESCUE, I PRAY

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