AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Thousands of displaced people in churches, humanitarian emergency in Juba after the end of the fighting

Tuesday, 12 July 2016 armed groups  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - Calm has returned to Juba, capital of South Sudan, devastated by days of fighting (see Fides 11/07/2016), after President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar declared ceasefire last night. "Machar released an interview in which he reaffirmed his commitment to the cease-fire", local Church sources told Fides. "Calm now prevails in the city, although there is still tension. The looting that accompanied and followed the fighting was of vast proportions. Those responsible are government soldiers and their allied militias, who prevailed on Machar’s weak forces. It could not have been otherwise, because Machar’s forces were just under 1,500 fighters with light weapons, while government soldiers are much more numerous and equipped with heavy weapons, including helicopter gunships and armored vehicles".
"It was a massacre - continue our sources - although the number of victims is still unknown. The humanitarian issue is the most urgent, starting from the lack of drinking water. Thousands of people have taken refuge in churches and much is being done to offer them assistance, despite a thousand difficulties. The International Red Cross has managed to send their teams in the two main hospitals".
Despite the ceasefire, several embassies proceed with the evacuation of their nationals and some of their staff. Japan is among the countries that have given orders to evacuate their citizens, which two years ago initiated major humanitarian and development projects in South Sudan.
"The escape of foreigners is first of all due to the lack of security, but also the lack of food and other goods due to the looting of shops. It is a situation that has already been experimented in other areas of South Sudan. The fighting has long-term consequences that deeply affect the people that is robbed and deprived of assistance", concludes Fides source. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 12/07/2016)