Fresh Shelling Erupts in South Sudan Military Barracks

2433 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
The fighting started at 9am, Wednesday, at a military barracks locally known as Geida, where the violence began on 15 December 2013 between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and a breakaway faction led by his ex-vice president, Riek Machar.

Heavy fighting erupted this morning in the South Sudanese capital Juba. Sounds of machine gun and heavy artillery plunged the capital into great panic as residents fled from the vicinity of the scene.

The fighting started at 9am, Wednesday, at a military barracks locally known as Geida, where the violence began on 15 December 2013 between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and a breakaway faction led by his ex-vice president, Riek Machar.

The Sudan Tribune News Agency says thick smoke could be seen bellowing over the military barracks south-east of Juba as uncontrolled gunfire continued in the military facility for most of the early hours.

Military sources say that the clashes involved presidential guards, known as the Tiger, and Commando units at the barracks. The clashes are the heaviest since mid-December violence, eyewitnesses say.

The cause of the fighting is still not known, but sources say there was an attempt to arrest the commander of the Commando Unit, Brig. Gatwech Gai, which might have resulted to resistance by his forces.

The fighting was still going on at 10am with sounds of Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and heavy artilleries shaking the city.

An eyewitness said he saw dozens of injured soldiers being rushed to Juba teaching hospital. Several others, unconfirmed reports say, have also been killed in the clashes.

“The military are now patrolling the city and have set up road blocks on major highways,” said the eye witness, citing roads leading to the airport and the military headquarters.

Currently, Juba resident are reportedly experiencing a temporary interference with most phone networks.

 

Mentioned: south sudan

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.