South Sudan ‘Failed Coup’ Threatens To Sink Into Civil War

Written by Kevin Mwanza

From BBC News Africa

Hundreds of people are believed to have died in clashes between rival South Sudan army factions, the UN says, quoting unconfirmed reports.

UN diplomats said they had been told by sources in the capital, Juba, that the death toll was between 400 and 500.

South Sudan has seen two days of clashes following a reported coup attempt against President Salva Kiir.

Fugitive opposition leader Riek Machar has denied government accusations that he tried to seize power.

“What took place in Juba was a misunderstanding between presidential guards within their division, it was not a coup attempt,” he told the Sudan Tribune, a Paris-based news website, in an interview published on Wednesday.

Mr Machar, a former South-Sudanese vice-president who fell out with President Kiir in July, said he had no knowledge of or connection with any coup attempt.

President Kiir has said a group of soldiers supporting Mr Machar had tried to take power by force on Sunday night, but were defeated.

Amid continuing clashes on Monday and Tuesday, the government said 10 senior political figures, including a former finance minister, had been arrested.

Details of the fighting have been sketchy, but a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York on Tuesday was told that the clashes were “apparently largely along ethnic lines”.

Read more at BBC News Africa