Home | News    Saturday 9 July 2016

South Sudanese leaders call for calm after deadly clash at Presidential Palace

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C) adresses a press conference together with FVP Riek Machar (R) and SVP James Wani at the State House on July 8, 2016 (Reuters Photo)

July 8, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese rival leaders on Friday called on the people of the new nation to remain calm after yet another more deadly fighting which erupted at the Presidential Palace in Juba on Friday.

Over 100 soldiers, mainly members of the presidential guards for President Salva Kiir and his first deputy, Riek Machar, who were deployed outside the fence of the Presidential Palace and on streets to guard it were killed when they clashed.

The fighting reportedly started when another force loyal to President Kiir came to the presidential palace and joined with their colleagues from the President’s tiger division force which was already deployed side by side with Machar’s bodyguards and opened fire on the guards of the first vice president.

The heavy fighting, which involved artilleries and tanks later on subsided when Machar’s bodyguards were either killed all or scattered.

The incident happened while three leaders (President Kiir, First Vice President, Machar, and Vice President James Wani), duped as Presidency were in a security meeting inside the Presidential Palace to discuss the Thursday’s incident which left five of President Kiir’s soldiers dead.

However, the three leaders after the clashes outside the Palace held a joint press statement, calling on the people of South Sudan to remain calm and denying knowledge of the cause of the fighting at the Palace.

“The three leaders held a joint press conference in the presidential palace after the unfortunate incident. They called for calm, actually repeating the earlier call they did in their phone conversation on Thursday evening,” James Gatdet Dak, spokesperson of Machar told Sudan Tribune this Saturday morning.

A statement released by the South Sudanese embassy in Washington said the meeting decided to probe the causes of the fighting.

"Today July 8, 2016, President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a Presidential decree on the formation of a Joint Investigation Committee chaired by Lt. General Alfred Lado Gore, the Minister of Interior. The mandate of the joint investigative committee is to investigate the two shooting incidents on the night of July 7 and July 8, 2016".

Dak said the presidency has also resolved to take the necessary measures to avoit the repetition of such incidents. Further, he said the fighting did not escalate into inside the Presidential Palace as earlier suggested, but was contained outside the fence of the Presidential Palace.

When asked about the cause of the cause of Friday clashes, he said there was something unclear, adding he could not confirm any knowledge about involvement of senior officials in the attack.

“Of course there is something fishy in the whole episode. There was some sort of a setup, maybe for revenge for the death of five SPLA soldiers on Thursday, or to eventually harm someone senior in our leadership. It is however politically incorrect at this point to accuse somebody,” Dak added.

The opposition leader’s press secretary was referring to the sudden attack against the bodyguards who accompanied Machar to the Presidential Palace as the leaders were discussing security matters.

SECURITY MEETING NEEDED

Meanwhile, the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission (JMCC) which carries out verification and monitoring of the violation of the August 2015 peace accord in South Sudan have issued a statement, urging the two main rival leaders to convene an urgent security meeting to ease tension.

JCC, the highest security monitoring organ established under the provision of the peace agreement, draws membership from parties and chaired by a top military officers nominated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc which mediated an end to the conflict in the young nation.

The statement called on President Kiir and his first deputy in unity government, Machar, to convene an urgent security meeting and to direct commanding officers to restrain their soldiers from carrying out further actions.

The minister of water and electricity, Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol, said it was time the two leaders exercised leadership to help calm down the situation from escalating.

Earlier, before the clashes at the Palace on Friday, JMCC called on the two commanders in chief to immediately meet at J1 (Presidential Palace), to stabilize the current situation in the country.

“We need to exercise leadership at this particular time of our history,” said Wol.

The earlier call also came after defence minister announced on Friday that five government soldiers died following shooting but added the situation was calm.

Defence Kuol Manyang Juuk told a local radio station that the situation was calm in Juba and the citizens should go about their business.

He added that the preliminary information is that a car belonging to “Riek Machar’s militias” was travelling west towards Gudele. Once the car reached Lou Clinic Gudele road’s roundabout, the armed men in the car opened fire "to the left and to the right sides of the road" killing five soldiers.

Among the dead three were from the SPLA Military Police and two were from National Security.

Kuol said the force that had set up a checkpoint was made up of Police (CID), national security, military intelligence and regular SPLA.

He said they were checking cars for arms because there has been increased insecurity in the area in recent days.

But his side of the story was disputed by the SPLA-IO who accused the SPLA forces of firing the first bullet after stopping their vehicle and attempting to arrest or disarm them.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 9 July 2016 11:03, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    This is a mouse style action bite the finger and then blow air to it afterwards. It is a game that is dangerous and it is focused to decimate the human resources of South Sudan that we dearly need and love. On both sides of the line of political and military opinions are the poor South Sudanese. Please stop this madness in our city. Riek should always expect the unexpected from those lunatics.

  • 9 July 2016 11:48, by Eastern

    The clam the leaders are calling for is not what the mathiang anyoor are calling for; they have ordered for residents of hai Lukwilili, hai Batary and areas surrounding Dr Machar’s resident at Jebel Kujur!!!!

  • 9 July 2016 13:54, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    President Kiir, is a innocent leader on all messing around the country. And God will save him as long as he rule the country.

  • 9 July 2016 16:46, by Joseph Canada

    If what the Minister of the defence said is true, then the Government and the UN as well as those "peace Organs" are to blame. These are my reasons
    1. Why were the army doing the work of Police?
    2. Was this kind of checkpoints have to be done by the Join security apparatus in both IG and IO?
    3. What is the Join security monitoring mechanisms work in Juba? 4.Why did he called IO soldiers Riek Milit



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