Intense fighting has resumed in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, as an increasingly tense security situation threatened to send the young country back to all-out civil war.
Al Jazeera staff in the city on Sunday heard loud booms, characteristic of heavy weapons, and gunfire coming from the area near the airport, which local sources said had closed. In a post on Twitter, Kenya Airways said they had suspended flights to Juba “due to [the] uncertain security situation”.
Gunfire had earlier been heard in the capital’s south-west near an army barracks and a United Nations base.
Violence from Thursday to Saturday killed more than 100 people, mostly soldiers from different armed factions, after gun battles broke out across Juba.
A witness told the Reuters news agency on Sunday that gunfire could be heard in the Gudele and Jebel suburbs, near a military barracks that hosts troops loyal to the country’s vice president Riek Machar.
“There were some loud booms, audible from 10km away,” Al Jazeera’s John Hendren, reporting from Juba, said, referring to the fighting in Jebel.
“It involved tanks, small arms fire and helicopter gunships, so it appeared to be a pretty massive confrontation.”
“Three helicopter gunships have just come now and bombed our side,” William Gatjiath Deng, a spokesman for Machar’s military faction, told the Associated Press news agency.
Source: Al Jazeera