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Residents, diplomatic missions flee South Sudan as gunfire resumes

Residents, diplomatic missions flee South Sudan as gunfire resumes

South Sudan

Sporadic gunfire could be heard early Monday morning in the South Sudanese capital Juba, hours after the United Nations Security Council called on the leaders of the country to call their forces to order.

There was quiet throughout the night till this morning forcing thousands of residents to flee the gun battle that started last Thursday. An aid worker based in Juba confirmed the shooting to AFP and the radio for the United Nations mission in the country confirmed it on Twitter.

The radio also added that about a thousand people are under the shelter of a church in the capital. Many others are hiding in their homes, witnesses said.

Church groups and leaders have also resorted to the radios throughout Sunday night preaching peace and calling for the end of hostilities, AFP reports.

“We condemn all acts of violence without exception. Gone are the days of carrying and using weapons. Now it is time to build a peaceful nation,” religious leaders said in a news broadcast.

Throughout the day, troops loyal to President Salva Kiir have been fighting former rebels of Vice President Riek Machar, stationed in the capital under a peace agreement signed in August 2015.

On Sunday evening, a UN peacekeeper from China was killed and six others were injured when the armored vehicle carrying them was hit by a shell during a mission in Juba, according to China’s Ministry of National Defense.

The UN has reported the presence of mortars, grenade launchers and heavy assault weapons in Juba. The presence of combat helicopters and tanks were also reported.

The United States demanded the immediate end of the fighting and announced the withdrawal of its non essential embassy staff from Juba.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is also pulling 47 of its staff out of the country.

Kenya Airways had cancelled flights to Juba on Sunday and AFP also reports that the Juba airport was closed.

Over 200 people have been killed since the violence erupted Thursday night.

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