By Ajong Mbapndah L
The United States has condemned the resurgence of fighting in South Sudan between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and partisans of Vice President Riek Machar. In a State Department release, the U.S calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities.
“We again call on both leaders and their political allies and commanders to immediately restrain their forces from further fighting, return them to barracks, and prevent additional violence and bloodshed,” the statement read.
Appropriate measures will be taken to hold culprits accountable for the continuous fighting and attacks targeting civilians and the UN mission, the State Department said. The statement indicated that the U.S is in active communication with the African Union and Regional leaders to put pressure on the South Sudanese leaders and their communities to end the fighting. In addition, the U.S has requested for an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
Urging U.S citizens in South Sudan to take precautions on their personal safety, the State Department said it had ordered the departure of all none emergency personnel from its Embassy in Juba.
South Sudan, Africa’s youngest country has not known much peace since it achieved independence in 2011. The latest violence started as the country marked its fifth anniversary of independence. While there is conflicting information on how the conflict started, the certainty is that it pits forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice President Rick Marchar. Some sources put the death toll on military and civilian casualties at over 150 and growing.