Thousands of people have fled renewed heavy fighting in South Sudan’s capital as former rebels and government soldiers exchanged fire amid fears of a slide back into full-blown conflict in the five-year-old nation.
The fights started on the western borders of Juba where both previous rebels and government soldiers have bases at the foot of the Jebel Kujur Mountain, close to a UN camp.
Fighting was heard in several other parts of the city throughout the day, including in Gudele — where rebel leader turned Vice President Riek Machar is headquartered — and central Tongping near the international airport, with gunfire intensifying and subsiding at different times.
Forces loyal to Mr Machar said his residence was attacked by the President’s troops.
Regional leaders, including from Kenya and Sudan, have urged an end to the fighting and plan to hold a special summit in Nairobi on Monday.
The renewed conflict was condemned by the UN and others, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saying he was “shocked and appalled”.
It pressed South Sudan’s neighbours to help end renewed fighting in the capital, asking for additional peacekeepers.
In a unanimous declaration, the UN Security Council’s 15 member countries also demanded that Mr Kiir and Mr Machar “do their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence”.
It called for the two rivals to “genuinely commit themselves to the full and immediate implementation of the peace agreement, including the permanent ceasefire and redeployment of military forces from Juba”.
It also urged accountability, warning of sanctions.
Speaking on Sunday afternoon, South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei blamed the former rebels for the fighting and insisted the Government was “in full control of Juba” even as shooting could be heard in parts of the city.
Mr Makuei said President Salva Kiir would call for a ceasefire later in the day.
“We are expecting his Excellency the President will issue a unilateral ceasefire, binding on his forces. We hope the First Vice President Riek Machar will follow suit,” he said.
The violence comes a day after the world’s youngest country marked its fifth independence anniversary, and is a fresh blow to a peace deal that has failed to end the civil war that broke out in December 2013.
City residents hunkered down or began fleeing their homes as the UN reported the use of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and “heavy ground assault weaponry”.
Man divorces wife just 15 minutes after Islamic marriage in Dubai
A man in Dubai divorced his bride just 15 minutes after their Islamic marriage as he felt ‘insulted’ by her father’s bride price demands.
The man agreed to pay his new father-in-law Dh100,000 for their wedding but the older man became impatient to get the cash, DailyMail reported.
According to Gulf News, family members and friends accompanied the couple to a Sharia judge’s office to witness the marriage contract being signed. The groom then gave Dh 50,000 on the spot as agreed, with the rest to come after the party left the court building, according to Gulf News.
But, the bride’s father demanded the remaining cash as soon as the signing was over, even though the groom didn’t have it on him.
He said it would only take five minutes to walk to his car, which was parked outside, and get the rest of the bride price.
Instead of letting him retrieve it, the father insisted him to pay either right then or send a friend or relative to get the money while he stayed inside.
The groom felt insulted and demeaned by the series of demands and called off the marriage immediately, a lawyer handling the case said.
‘He told the bride’s father that he did not want his daughter as his wife and divorced her in less than 15 minutes from signing the marriage contract,’ he said.Follow @gorkhapost