(CNN)South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar, commander of opposition forces in the world’s newest country, has called on his troops to respect the ceasefire called for Monday by the country’s president, Salva Kiir.

Kiir had earlier demanded an immediate end to the fighting between his soldiers and those loyal to the rival vice president. The civil disputes have left more than 150 dead across the capital city of Juba since fighting broke out on Thursday.
“I’m informing all the troops that have been fighting to respect the ceasefire and to remain where they are now,” Machar said on Eye Radio, a U.S.-funded radio station that broadcasts in the country.
South Sudan: How we got here 01:49
Despite an apparent halt in fighting in the capital on Tuesday, the Red Cross said that food and other supplies are running low for tens of thousands of citizens taking shelter at places like humanitarian centers and churches.
“The needs are enormous,” said Jurg Eglin, head of the Red Cross mission in the country. “… It is by no means back to normal.”
A representative of the president said that the ceasefire was holding Tuesday, and that Kiir “doesn’t want the peace to collapse.”
“All the soldiers have returned to their barracks,” besides those who are manning checkpoints around government institutions and other important areas, said Kiir’s representative, Ateny Wek Ateny.
Following an overnight lull, fighting had resumed Monday morning with the sound of gunfire blasting through parts of Juba, according to Shantal Persaud, acting spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission in South Sudan. Should the truce fail to hold, fighting threatens to throw the country back into civil war.
Fighting first broke out Thursday with skirmishes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, loyal to Kiir, and soldiers backing Machar. A resurgence Sunday and Monday came after a halt when the country celebrated the fifth anniversary of its independence from Sudan on Saturday.
The U.S. State Department announced on Monday a reduction in staff at the U.S. Embassy in Juba as bloody violence in the capital spirals, leaving scores of people dead, including two Chinese U.N. peacekeepers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s