JUBA (HAN) July 9.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Saturday has ordered an inquiry to determine the circumstances under which a heavy gunfire erupted outside presidential palace, resulting in the death of over hundred of soldiers from the SPLA and SPLA-IO on Friday.
- The clashes which involved the use of heavy artillery fire erupted outside presidential compound about 5:30 pm and carried on until around 6:21 pm, when sporadic gunfire could still be heard and tanks appeared on the major streets, some of which moved around the compound.
Exchanges of more heavy gunfire were also heard at the main Juba Bridge linking the country to the nearing eastern African countries. other places outside Juba town where sporadic shootings were heard include Gumbo area, located east of the town.
The gunfire included Sherikat, causing panic and forcing civilians to flee in fear of their safety and security. Another gunfire was heard around the residence of President Kiir in Hai Amarat, Thongpiny, Gudule and in Jebel area, where the residence of the First Vice President Riek Machar is located.
In an attempt to establish the truth behind the shooting, President Kiir, formed a committee headed by the minister of interior, General Alfred Lado Gore. The minister of national security, Isaac Mbuto Mamur Mate, was named as a secretary of the committee. Other members include heads of internal security and external bureaus, respectively Akol Koor Kuc and Thomas Duoth.
The terms of reference, according to the order, are to carry out thorough investigation to establish the facts behind the shooting and to find out the architects and their motives.
Military jet fighters hovered above the city as the shooting was continuing around the presidential palace where President Kiir, First Vice President, Riek Machar and Vice President, James Wani Igga , were meeting to discuss the incident in which five government soldiers were killed on Thursday and to find a solutions to myriad of unimplemented host of issues in the peace agreement in order to move the country forward.
The exact cause of shooting remains unclear. However, In an attempt to calm down the situation, the president, and is his two deputies came out and stood together and spoke to the public as the fire was subsiding outside the palace on Friday evening.
Kiir said he and his two deputies were discussing the incident in which five government soldiers were killed in a brawl in Gudele between the rival forces at the main crossing point.
“What is happening outside is something that we cannot explain to you,” said president Kiir in a statement broadcast by the state owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC).
“Three of us were sitting inside the meeting, discussing the situation of yesterday (Thursday) what happened in Gudele and then talking about what we can do in the implementation of the agreement and to build confidence among the forces and the civil population.”, he added.
“So now this thing has started before we could even finish and we were actually after finishing I was going to give a statement on the occasion of the independence of South Sudan tomorrow, and then Dr Riek was also going to make statement reassuring people about what happened yesterday.”, he explained.
Machar confirmed he and the Vice President Igga were in the meeting with the president discussing the Gudule incident before the shooting at the presidential palace . He further called on the citizens to remain calm as the three leaders seeks a way to addressing issues of contention.
“This is a very unfortunate incident which none of us really knows what has happened, all we want to tell our public now is that they should remain calm, they should remain calm, this incident also will be controlled, and measures will be taken so that peace is restored even to the heart of the city itself,” said Machar. He expressed optimism that the situation will be overcome since they were able to sit together.
Vice President Igga explained that they addressing the issue of Thursday in Gudule where the shooting took place so that they take concrete steps toward resolving it before starting with a discussion about the independence which required the president to give a statement addressing the nation. He said none of them knew what was happening outside presidential palace. (ST)