AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Did the "hawks" trigger the clashes in the capital?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 armed groups  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - "What has happened in recent days indicates an absence of unity of command, a very serious thing for an army because it means disorder. On July 11, President Salva Kiir ordered the military to return to their barracks but the looting committed by soldiers and militias affiliated to them continued", explain local sources from Juba to Agenzia Fides, still shocked by the fighting between the military linked to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to First Vice President Riek Machar. With the help of who is in the capital of South Sudan, but for obvious security reasons does not want to be mentioned, we will try to reconstruct what happened in recent days.
The crisis which broke out on July 8 was preceded by disturbing incidents. Violence increased, which started with the assassination on 2 July, of an official of Machar’s security services. Since then there have been a number of incidents between the two sides. The initiative was always taken by the government army, because Machar’s men in Juba are not high in number and type of weapons supplied.
The clashes broke out around 5 pm on Friday 8, when an armed group attacked the presidential palace where a press conference was about to start in which President Kiir had to present the speech for the fifth anniversary of independence (July 9, 2011) to the local and international media. In the room, along with journalists, both Vice Presidents were present, thus also Machar. When the shooting started, President Kiir came out of his office to talk with his two Vices, and told reporters that he did not understand what was happening. Machar said the same thing. From the expression on their faces, there was dismay and surprise as proven by the photographs later published by the local press. It is unthinkable that the President ordered the assault on his own palace in the presence of local and international press, during the most important event in the Country. As for Machar, due to the disproportion of forces, a coup attempt seemed too risky.
The assumption is therefore of a lack of control units within the army, where there are apparently some "hawks" contrary to the peace agreements that took advantage of the occasion to unleash the attack. (L.M.) (13/07/2016)

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