South Sudan;s former rebel leader also calls for cease-fire


The city of Juba was calm on Tuesday, five days after a shootout in the city between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, the former rebel leader, triggered clashes that left at least 120 people dead. Although statistics on religious affiliation in the country are debated, a large share of the population is Catholic and the Catholic Church played an active role in the South Sudan independence movement.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny says both men have now spoken by phone and have called for a unilateral ceasefire. He also requested commanders to protect civilians, threatened ethnic groups and any opposition force who surrendered.

That conflict killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than 2.5 million people from their homes.

It is not clear if the violence has subsided.

South Sudan's oil revenue has collapsed and the price of sorghum - the staple cereal crop - has increased by 400 percent this year. "Rarely has a country's conduct squandered so much promise so quickly". "Time and again, failed leadership".

The Security Council on Sunday pressed South Sudan's neighbours to help end the renewed fighting by offering extra peacekeepers.

"I inform all troops who have been fighting and have been defending themselves that they should observe the ceasefire and stay in position", Machar said on Eye Radio Juba. The violence, in which two Chinese peacekeepers and one United Nations staff member were among the slain, came less than three months after the two sides formed a transitional government to end a conflict that claimed tens of thousands of lives since December 2013.

The head of the mission, Ellen Margrethe Loj, has condemned the attacks. "This constitutes a serious violation of worldwide law".

According to news agency reports, there are a few hundred Indians in South Sudan.

He added President Kiir had expressed his commitment to the implementation of the August 2015 peace deal signed by him and Machar to end more than two years of civil war. Third, fortify the UN mission in South Sudan, UNMISS.

"And you may have seen the communique that we already issued when this unfortunate attacks started", he said. The third largest United Nations force in the world, UNMISS has been in South Sudan for its entire history, with a mandate for bringing security and the "necessary conditions for development".

Marika Shameras is a research fellow with the London-based Overseas Development Institute.

Smail Chergui, the union's Commissioner for Peace and Security, said the situation in South Sudan was of "great concern for all of us".

Despite calls for calm from worldwide powers, fighting in Juba continues, with heavy weaponry damaging at least one hospital by shellfire, as well as striking several United Nations refugee camps. Just the speed and strength of fighting was really quite surprising, even to those who were very, very skeptical about the chances of South Sudan remaining entirely peaceful. The U.N. now has 12,000 peacekeeping troops and police in South Sudan. "So I really don't think that anybody is going to listen", he said.