South Sudan declares curfew after troops clash around capital

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 5:10 AM
South Sudan declares curfew after troops clash around capital

JUBA (Reuters) - The South Sudanese president declared a curfew in the capital Juba on Monday after clashes overnight between rival factions of soldiers.

The fighting broke out following months of tension after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar in July. Kiir blamed troops loyal to Machar for the violence.

Flanked by ministers and wearing combat fatigues rather than civilian clothes, Kiir declared an overnight curfew in Juba effective from Monday night. It would run each night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., he said.

An unidentified person had initially fired shots in the air near a conference being held by the ruling party, Kiir said.

"This was followed later by an attack at the SPLA headquarters near Juba University by a group of soldiers allied to the former vice-president Dr Riek Machar and his group. These attacks continued until this morning," he said.

"However, I would like to inform you, at the outset, that your government is in full control of the security situation in Juba.".

Kiir and Machar are from rival ethnic groups which have clashed in the past. Witnesses said the sound of gunfire and artillery fire had subsided by late Monday morning.

(Additional reporting by Pascal Fletcher in Johannesburg and Edmund Blair and Drazen Jorgic in Nairobi; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Angus MacSwan)