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At least 150 Die as South Sudan Marks 5th Independence Anniversary



JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN - MARCH 19: President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony of "Freedom Bridge" in the capital Juba, South Sudan on March 19, 2015. (Photo by Samir Bol/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit

Fierce overnight artillery and gunfire fight has left more than 100 soldiers dead in South Sudanese capital, Juba, on the fifth anniversary of the country’s independence.

The fight started on Friday evening as President Salva Kiir, first Vice president Riek Machar and second Vice President Igga Wani, met to discuss the cause of fighting which left five soldiers dead on Thursday.

South Sudanese local media reported the casualties at 150 deaths, including 36 soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Opposition (SPLM-IO) loyal to Machar and 80 from President Kiir’s side.

Machar remains the Commander-In-Chief of the forces loyal to him while Kiir maintains the command of the overall national security forces as part of a peace deal ending months of conflict.

Meanwhile, the fight at the Presidential Palace led the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan to issue a travel advisory.

The advisory warned against non-essential travel to the vicinity of the palace and elsewhere in Juba.

“The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens that small arms fire has occurred in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace and elsewhere in Juba. Citizens should avoid the area of the Presidential Palace and exercise caution. Once in a safe location, U.S. citizens should shelter in a place preferably away from doors and windows and avoid non-essential movement,” stated the advisory.

During the Friday fight, gunfire also rocked the UN compound, where thousands of people displaced by the 2013 political crisis have been sheltering.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it was outraged at the outbreak of the violence in Juba, which severely affected the civilian population.

The heavy fighting in Juba town and in close proximity to the UNMISS compound located at UN House, Jebel, prompted hundreds of internally displaced people to flee from the UNMISS protection of civilians site.

The UN said several rounds of ammunition hit the buildings in the house.

UN peacekeepers have increased their presence on the perimeter of PoC sites one and three and enhanced their patrol inside and in the vicinity of the sites.

The UNMISS said its staff were providing assistance to those injured during the fighting.

The South Sudanese Ministry of Defence confirmed the fighting stopped on Saturday, the official day for the celebration of the independence anniversary.

However, authorities in South Sudan announced there would be no national ceremony to mark the Independence Day celebrations due to the lack of finances to organize the event.

The country, recovering from crisis which broke out in 2013, took the step to withhold the national celebrations.

But the president planned to issue a televised national address on economic and political governance progress since the signing of a peace agreement with his vice.

Both leaders called for calm when the sound of gunfire and mortar shells rang close to the presidential palace as the three leaders finalized a meeting on the country’s national security status.

Photo Credit: Samir Bol/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. ElessarisElendil

    July 10, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Black Lives Matter.

    • *curious*

      July 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm


  2. Californiabawlar

    July 10, 2016 at 1:18 am

    I’m still trying to get a hang of what the problem is with South Sudan. They were marginalized and literally almost obliterated by the ‘Arab’ north Sudan. They get their independence and then they start fighting each other?
    Walahi, it’s hard not to think that the black nation is under some sort of jinx (putting it mildly).

    • DeeDee

      July 10, 2016 at 2:40 am

      No Jinx except thier overwhelming greed!..
      I’ve been to juba it’s a dead place but every one wanted to discuss business with the new country. From ministers to ambassadors they scramble to get something from you lining thier pockets ,The streets were filled with tension and a stranger stood out like a sore thumb .it was a pathetic powder keg .

    • i no send

      July 10, 2016 at 10:14 am

      that i why i say that does who are calling for the breakup of nigeria should take time to study about south sudan….it will be 100 times worse ..because even within our own kin there are a lot of unresolved issues

    • Iris

      July 10, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Bless you. Every time I hear people talk about Biafra for instance, I ask ‘Who is Biafra?’ How sure are you that the non-Igbo places (including present Rivers and Delta) that agreed to go before or that were co-opted into it will go today? You think the Niger Delta doesn’t want its own country? Even within one tribe, any newly established order will start some kind of discrimination. ‘Hmm these Enugu people, their Igbo is one kind’ , ‘ I am Onitsha-Igbo’, ‘Asaba Igbo is not real Igbo.’ These are the kinds of words I have actually heard. I don’t know if this same thing is said among people of other tribes, but won’t be surprised if it is.
      Then if we decide to split according to the three major tribes you think the others will automatically agree to follow? If we then decide to go as tribe per tribe we may as well revert to pre-colonialism and isolate ourselves from the rest of the world because I don’t know how international relations with everyone outside current Nigeria will work. We can’t even do the basic things like establishing proper border control for Nigeria as is.
      Europe screwed us over more than a century ago, agreed. I’m sure even their current leaders know their predecessors are part of the reason everywhere from Africa to the Middle East is a violent mess. The best we can do now is try to make it work.

    • damilola

      July 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      It’s an unfortunate situation. That’s the story of Africa. Europeans and Arabs colonized us then we picked up where they left off. We continued to colonize ourselves. This is what Brymo meant when he said Black/African men like to suffer because Africans prefer division, dysfunctionality and chaos.
      To Biafrans, and supporters this will be your future. After you guys fight the government to remove yourself from Nigeria, you will then turn the sword towards one another to obliterate each other because one group will feel more superior than the other. Igbos are divided already, so I’m not sure what Biafrans have in mind. Niger Delta are pretending now to be supportive of biafra but when it’s time for action, it will be a different story. And I’m still trying to understand what land and place Biafrans have in mind to settle.
      It will be the worst ever than the oppressors. We are all blacks, why can’t we just treat one another like human being.

      I believe, Nigerians can rise above religious/ethnic conflict, let’s all join hands together to make Nigeria better. Let’s work to come to the middle ground. Let’s use our differences in a positive way because one group has contributed to the making of the country. My statement toward Igbos sometimes which some refer to as being tribalist is not out of hatred. It’s just my own experience and observation which doesn’t make me hate all igbos. That’s part of life, we all have our stereotypes or preference. Igbos have their own against yorubas and talk crap too. In the midst of it all, I don’t have mind to get rid, kill anybody. Let’s build not a perfect Nigeria but a progressive and put our differences aside when needs be.

    • abi

      July 11, 2016 at 2:54 am

      We can’t say for sure whether a secessionist Biafra will go the same way as Sudan. Is it likely? Probability is high. Igbos are definitely marginalised in Nigeria to the extent of it being indoctrinated into every incoming generation so that eventually it has become an untruthful truth.
      And yet as an Igbo person I don’t support an independent Biafra. I advocate the ideology but because igbos have been ‘Nigerianized’ I do not envisage a Biafran leadership that is beneficial to anyone. It’ll be the same corrupt and inept igbo people in power in Nigeria that will be in power in Biafra. The Amaechis, Metuhs, Dezeanis.
      I’ve always opined that if Igbos are so independently industrious why don’t we just go ahead and create our Biafrian nation in our present regions? Why do Igbos build huge man sions, malls and businesses in ‘Nigeria’ but use ‘Biafra’ as their occasionally visited country homes?
      Anyway I just feel we really need to ask ourselves some critical questions.

  3. Victor Adegoke

    July 10, 2016 at 7:57 am

    We are our own problems in Africa.

  4. Naked

    July 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Even after seceding from Sudan! Truly, United we stand, divided we fall.

  5. Tolulope

    July 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I think there is still something hidden about the word “black” that we’re all running away from. I’m hoping we’ll one day accept the realities about us one day.


    July 11, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Africa is cursed!! Africa will never reached the top.. because it is full of losers, gold diggers, power hungry people, jealous, wicked and dirty.. many African countries are so disappointing..

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