Juba clashes: ‘Dozens of soldiers killed’

South Sudan is facing its biggest challenge since becoming independent.. Photo: AFP

South Sudan is facing its biggest challenge since becoming independent.

More than 60 soldiers have been killed in two days of clashes in the South Sudanese capital Juba, doctors at a military hospital have said.

Fresh violence broke out on Tuesday, a day after the government said it had quashed an attempted coup.

Thousands of people have sought shelter at two UN compounds in the capital.

On Monday, President Salva Kiir blamed soldiers loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar – sacked in July – for the violence.

He said the clashes began when uniformed personnel opened fire at a meeting of the ruling party, former rebel force the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), on Sunday night.

Curfew in place

Fresh gunfire erupted on Tuesday near the presidential palace and many other areas of Juba.

Ajak Bullen, a doctor at a military hospital, said at least 66 soldiers had died in the clashes.

“So far we have lost seven soldiers who died while they were waiting for medical attention and a further 59 who were killed outside,” he told local media.

A night time curfew is in place and at least four former ministers have been arrested after Sunday’s alleged coup.

The government said it was looking for Mr Machar who had gone into hiding.

President Kiir sacked Mr Machar, along with his whole cabinet, in July, reportedly following a power struggle.

Mr Machar, who has said he plans to contest the presidential elections in 2015, now leads a dissident faction within the SPLM.

-BBC

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Nairobi Digest

Kenyan Journalist