Over 100 dead on independence anniversary in S Sudan

    Over 100 dead on independence anniversary in S Sudan

    July 10, Khartoum: At least 115 soldiers from different armed factions in South Sudan have died after gun battles broke out across the capital Juba on the eve of the country's fifth independence anniversary, media reports said.

    According to reports, the fighting on Friday began outside the presidential compound as President Salva Kiir was meeting with first vice president and former rebel leader Riek Machar and soon spread through the city.

    William Gatjiath Deng, spokesman for Machar's military faction, said the fighting had occurred near the state house and in army barracks.

    "In the morning we collected and counted 35 (dead) from the SPLM-IO (Machar's faction) and 80 people from the government forces," he was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency on Saturday.

    Local broadcaster Radio Tamazuj put the number of total deaths to 146.

    South Sudan was founded with celebrations in the capital on July 9, 2011, after it gained independence from Sudan in a referendum that passed with close to 100 percent of the vote.

    The majority of the bodies the hospital were soldiers, the doctor said speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety, Al Jazeera reported.

    Rivals Kiir and Machar appealed for calm as fears grew in Juba of a return to civil war. Many people, worried for their safety, stayed indoors on Saturday and the streets were almost deserted except for soldiers.

    Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

    The Oslo Times International News Network


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