JUBA, South Sudan, Jul 11 – Heavy fighting resumed in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Monday despite international calls for calm after deadly gun battles sent thousands of people fleeing and threatened the young nation’s shaky peace.
The United Nations expressed deep alarm over the surge in violence, which has left several hundred people dead and risks plunging the country into a new civil war.
Intense battles resumed Monday with tanks and helicopter gunships deployed and artillery and mortar fire heard in parts of the city.
Insecurity meant planes were unable to arrive or depart the city’s airport.
Witnesses reported “very, very heavy fighting,” with residents barricading themselves inside houses and aid workers holed up in bunkers while the US embassy warned of “serious fighting between government and opposition forces”.
The only civilians on the streets scurried for shelter during lulls in fighting.
The UN Security Council demanded Sunday that President Salva Kiir and his Vice President Riek Machar “do their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence”.