By Beth Nyaga
President Uhuru Kenyatta is urging the warring factions in South Sudan to call a cease fire.
Statehouse Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu Sunday said the Head of State has already reached out to President Salva Kiir.
“The President urges President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Dr Riek Machar and Vice President James Wani Igga to play the leadership roles the people of South Sudan expect them to play during this critical time,” said Manoah during the State House Press briefing.
President Kenyatta is also urging President Kiir, First Vice President Machar and Vice President Wani to urgently move heavy weaponry and huge contingents of soldiers out of civilian spaces.
“We in the region stand ready to support law enforcement activities in the capital,” concluded Manoah.
This statement comes as heavy exchanges of gunfire have erupted near the UN building in South Sudan’s capital after days of fighting between government troops and former rebels.
Residents in Juba fled as mortars and “heavy ground assault weaponry” were fired, the UN in Juba said.
More than 100 people are reported to have been killed in recent clashes between supporters of President Salva Kiir and vice-president Riek Machar.
July 2011 – South Sudan becomes an independent country, after more than 20 years of guerrilla warfare, which claimed the lives of at least 1.5 million people and displaced more than four million.
December 2013 – Civil war breaks out after President Salva Kiir sacks the cabinet and accuses Vice-President Riek Machar of planning a failed coup. Over 2.2 million people are displaced by the fighting and severe famine puts the lives of thousands at risk. Mr Machar flees the country.
August 2015 – President Kiir signs a peace deal with rebels after a threat of sanctions from the UN.
April 2016 – Riek Machar returns to South Sudan to take up his job as first vice president in a new unity government led by President Salva Kiir.