South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and first vice president Riek Machar have each ordered a ceasefire after nearly five days of clashes left hundreds dead and thousands displaced in the capital city Juba.
The order, available for download below, was meant to take effect at 6 P.M. However, heavy shooting was still heard in Gudele between 7:30 and just after 8 o’clock. Sporadic firing continued after that. Witnesses say this may have been celebratory gunfire.
In a statement on SSTV, Minister of Information Michael Makuei said that “all the commanders of these forces are hereby directed to cease any hostility and abide by this order, control their forces, and protect civilian population and their property”.
The order continued:
“All the commanders of these forces are directed to control their forces and ensure protection of any ethnic group that may be targeted by some elements within their forces and any SPLA-IO who surrenders to the SPLA must be protected.”
“All the commanders deployed at checkpoints within Juba city, shall reduce and limit such checkpoints to only essential and important installations and institutions.”
“All the regular forces that were deployed because of whatever, they need to go back to their respective units, any soldier or any member of the regular forces that will be found loitering about with his rifle without reporting to his unit will be arrested and immediate action will be taken.”
“All the commanders of their units are directed to ensure that their forces are in their units. This is very important so that our people from here can go back to their houses.”
Machar blames government for starting fighting
Meanwhile, Riek Machar, speaking to Eye Radio, refused to give his location, only saying he was in Juba. This comes after his sites were bombed by Kiir’s helicopter gunships and his troops dislodged from their camp near Jebel.
“The president has declaread unilateral ceasefire. I want to reciporcate the declaration of unilateral ceasefire from 8 o’clock and I am informing all the troops that have been fighting, defending themselves, to respect this ceasefire and to remain where they are now,” he said.
Machar said the rest of the details of the ceasefire will be taken care of but he has already spoken to his commanders about hte ceasefire and they are informing their forces.
The opposition leader described reports that he lost control of his forces as “rubbish.”
“We are not responsible for the starting of the te fighting in Juba. We are not even responsible for the other attacks,” he said.
He want on to blame the government for letting the peace deal falter.
“There was no agreement from the other side of cantonment areas in Equatoria and in Bahr el Ghazal and the SPLA was on the offensive,” he said.