London-Multiple sources have confirmed that on Thursday many ministers from Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) in the transitional government of national unity have been rounded up from various hotels and arrested after sporadic gunfire rocked the city from strategic military bases.
President Salva Kiir described these acts as an attempted coup led by his former sacked deputy, Riek Machar.
The first to be arrested on Thursday was Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong, the minister of roads and bridges, who was picked from his home in Juba immediately after Kiir’s address.
The number of the SPLM/A Ministers arrested in Juba by national security is unknown but Machar’s spokesperson confirmed that Dr. Dhieu Mathok was on the phone with him when members of national security collected him from his Crown Hotel.
South Sudan’s vice president has withdrawn with his troops to outside of Juba but is not planning for war, his spokesman said on Wednesday, as a ceasefire that ended heavy fighting with the president’s forces entered its third day.
Forces loyal to longtime rivals Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir fought street battles in the capital during a five-day period until a ceasefire was reached on Monday.
Notably, Opposing army factions have clashed in the capital, Juba, over the past week, with forces backing Kiir pushing many opposition forces out of their bases in the city and bombing the home of Machar.
The fighting has threatened a peace deal reached in August to end a civil war that began in December 2013 between supporters of Kiir and Machar and left tens of
thousands dead. The deal called for a transitional government that included members of both sides.
Both Kiir and Machar called late Monday for a ceasefire, which has appeared to hold. However, tensions continue among their supporters.