At least 115 confirmed killed in clashes in S. Sudan
10 July 2016, 04:55
Juba - At least 115 people have been confirmed dead after heavy gunfire erupted at the presidential palace in Juba on Friday evening.
Sudan People's Liberation Army-In-Opposition (SPLA-1O) spokesman William Gatjiath said on Saturday majority of the bodies were of soldiers, noting that the mortuary was full at Juba Teaching Hospital.
Gatjith said the SPLA-IO side, which is being led by First Vice-President Riek Machar, incurred good number of causalities, adding that search still continued at the State House and suburb of Juba a few hours after the gun fight.
"We have counted 35 bodies of the first circle of our bodyguards, while in Sudan People's Liberation Army in Government (SPLA-IG) that were deployed outside the fence of State House were 80 soldiers," Gatjiath told Xinhua in Juba.
He said the residence of opposition chief of general staff located in Jebel Kujur near UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was attacked with no clear number of causalities yet.
"I will avail to you more number of the causalities later," Gatliath said.
SPLA-IG Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang said he was not authorised by the government high command to release any statistic confirming the death toll.
Heavy gunfire including artillery fire has been heard from around the presidential compound since about 5:30 pm where President Salva Kiir, first vice president Riek Machar, and vice president Wani Igga were having a meeting following Thursday brawl that left five soldiers dead and two others wounded.
The shooting spread to nearly all neighborhoods of the city, including outside the UN base near Jebel where some 28,000 displaced people were sheltering.
It remains unclear exactly who was fighting each other in each place or the cause of the fighting.
The three leaders on Friday formed a joint committee to investigate the Juba sporadic shootings and called for calm among public.
Juba was calm on Saturday, which was South Sudan's anniversary of independence.