Khartoum- Bloody battles renewed in South Sudan on Sunday forcing the U.N. Security Council to go ahead of its scheduled Sunday evening session issuing a strong statement threatening sanctions should the conflict remain unresolved.
The U.N. statement was in response to battles erupting in Juba between government forces loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit and those forces loyal to South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar. The clashes threaten the peace agreement signed last August.
The U.N. statement emphasized that measures will be taken based on resolution 2280 which orders to freeze all assets and ban officials from travelling.
The transition government is requested to prioritize conducting transparent investigations into witnessed war crimes and that those involved must be held accountable and could be potentially subjected to sanctions as authorized under Council resolution 2206 (2015) for actions that threaten peace, security or stability of South Sudan.
For his part, the Secretary-General strongly urged the country’s leaders to do everything in their power to de-escalate the hostilities immediately and to order their respective forces to disengage and withdraw to their bases, saying: “This senseless violence is unacceptable and has the potential of reversing progress made so far in the peace process.”
According to the Secretary-General, U.N. compounds and civilian protection sites in Juba have been caught in the cross-fire. Expressing deep frustration that despite commitments by South Sudan’s leaders, fighting has resumed, Mr. Ban said they must take decisive action to regain control of the security situation in Juba.
South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makkawi , in a phone interview calling in Juba, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that forces loyal to Machar had staged an attack against a Juba checkpoint. The militants then took over the turnpike. It was then that forces loyal to President Mayardit, belonging to the national army, mobilized to restore control over the location, near Machar’s residence.
Makkawi further clarified that negotiations between both parties are ongoing. He added that clashes are calming down and the area is in the process of being delivered to a more composed state of affairs.
The Information Minister denied all rumors on Machar’s residence being shelled. Over 125 people, from both conflict sides, were killed over the last two days, Makkawi added.
“We have not received any reports on the effective death toll yet; but, according to Saturday’s statistics, 100 insurgents were reportedly killed along with 25 of the government forces,” he said.