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Machar fighters threaten to attack Juba as fresh fighting breaks out
Published on 1-08-2016 - at 01:52' by Daily Nation

President Kiir’s government has ruled out the threats, saying Mr Machar’s group is incapable of attacking Juba.

Forces loyal to embattled South Sudan First vice president Riek Machar on Sunday warned they will attack Juba if a third force is not deployed in South Sudan.

“We are waiting for orders from the commander-in-chief to give orders and we move on Juba,” said Mr James Gadet, Mr Machar’s spokesperson.

He said fighting was going on in the north-west of Juba and also claimed that the Opposition (SPLA-IO) had captured a military bases in Katigir.

Mr Gadet also said government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir had carried out aerial bombardment of their bases in Lanya County but the ground attacks had been repulsed.

He also added that in the last one week, their forces had captured 21 military trucks from government soldiers.

Mr Gadet also claimed that Mr Machar is “around Juba” despite media reports that he had fled.

However, President Kiir’s spokesperson, Mr Ateny wek Ateny, dismissed threats by Mr Machar group, saying they have no capacity to attack Juba.

“Machar group has no capacity to attack Juba. If it was possible for them, they would have done so long time ago,” Mr Ateny told Daily Monitor on phone.

He added that Dr Machar’s intention is to capture power by force but “he has no capacity”.

Mr Ateny also said Mr Machar was hiding in the jungles neighbouring DR Congo and Central African Republic.

He further stated that government is committed to the implement of the agreement.

President Kiir and rebel leader Machar had signed a peace agreement in August year under which Machar was once again made Vice President.

However, both sides have been hurling accusations against each other over the fresh fighting and failure to implement the Addis Ababa Peace Accord.

Last week, Mr Taban Deng Gai, who led the peace negotiations on behalf of the SPLA IO, was sworn in South Sudan’s First vice president by President Kiir, temporarily replacing Mr Machar.

Mr Taban, who has been serving as minister of Mining in the National Unity government, had been sacked by his boss, Dr Machar, a day earlier.

This happened after Dr Machar had failed to meet an ultimatum issued by President Kiir, asking him to return to Juba for both parties to work together towards rebuilding peace.

Mr Machar fled Juba, about two weeks ago, after renewed fighting broke out on July 8.

Dr Machar, who had remained silent about his replacement for a while, last week told Al-jaazera that the appointment of his former minister Taban was “illegal and violated the Peace agreement”.

Meanwhile, the Machar group will Monday address a press conference in Addis Ababa on the unfolding events in Africa’s youngest nation.

In Juba, a source told this newspaper that the situation is still “calm” but the residents are living under fear following Mr Machar’s replacement.

The country descended into conflict in December 2013 after President Kiir sacked Mr Machar accusing him of plotting a coup.

Meanwhile, the Security Council has extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for two weeks.

This is to allow time for its membership to consider options on adapting the operation’s mandate amid renewed violence in the country

According to a statement posted on the UNMISS website on July 29, its mandate was expected to expire on Sunday but the UN Security Council unanimously approved a short extension – through August 12.

“The Council’s action comes as deadly clashes between rival factions loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar have, since early July, sent thousands of civilians fleeing the capital, Juba. UNMISS compounds and civilian protection sites have been attacked,” the statement read in part.

The same statement also indicated that thousands of South Sudanese, mostly women and children, have crossed into Uganda since fighting erupted, including an estimated 8,337 refugees on July 21, setting a single-day record since the influx began in 2016.

UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon urged calm on all sides and called on the leaders to do everything in their power to de-escalate the hostilities.

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Fresh clashes broke out this month between forces loyal to president Salva Kiir (L) and those loyal to first vice president Riek Machar.

Kwamamaza
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