4 January 2014

South Sudan: Heavy Fighting Breaks Out At Army Barracks in Juba and Yei

South Sudan's government and rebels were set to begin formal peace talks Sunday in the Ethiopian capital are aimed at ending three weeks of fighting ... ( Resource: S. Sudan Talks Set to Start, Govt Rules Out Releasing Rebels )

Juba — Heavy fighting broke out on Saturday at the barracks of the South Sudanese army in Yei, a town on the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, causing panic among local residents.

It was not possible to ascertain the cause of the fighting. In Jonglei and Unity states parts of the army mutinied following reports that civilians from the Nuer tribe were being targeted during clashes in the capital, Juba, in mid-December.

Fighting has also been reported from the barracks in Juba where the fighting began on December 15 between members of the Presidential Guard.

The spokesperson of South Sudan's president Ateny Wek Ateny, told Sudan Tribune that the latest fighting in Juba was between drunken soldiers. No casualty figures were known by Saturday evening.

The soldiers who defected in Juba last month were pushed back to Khor William but launched a counter attack on Juba on Saturday, according to Major General Marial Cindong Yol from the South Sudanese army (SPLA).

Following the outbreak of fighting President Salva Kiir accused his former Vice President Riek Machar and others of attempting to stage a coup. This has been denied by Machar who is now leading an armed rebellion against the government which has managed to control several states.

Representatives from both sides have sent delegations to Ethiopia for ceasefire talks but no progress has been made as Machar has set out preconditions for the negotiations. These include the release of all political detainees and establishing a mechanism for implementing and monitoring the ceasefire.

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