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Reject overthrow of legitimate govt says SA
December 19, 2013, 1:52 pm

Civilians sit after arriving at the compound of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), adjacent to Juba International Airport, to take refuge Wednesday, Dec. 18 , 2013, in Juba, South Sudan [AP]

Civilians sit after arriving at the compound of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), adjacent to Juba International Airport, to take refuge Wednesday, Dec. 18 , 2013, in Juba, South Sudan [AP]

South Africa on Thursday expressed grave concerns over the ethnic conflict in South Sudan that is threatening to destabilize the African country.

“The South African government learnt with shock and dismay of the alleged attempt, by disgruntled soldiers, to overthrow by violent means the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit,” South Africa’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement.

“South Africa firmly believes that respect for democracy and human rights are essential to the governance of all African countries and that all violent means to overthrow legitimate governments must be rejected,” he said.

500 people are feared dead, said the United Nations and that about 20,000 people have taken shelter on bases of UN peacekeepers including 200 oil workers who will now be evacuated by their companies. China National Petroleum Corp and India’s ONGC Videsh are among the top firms managing oilfields in the region.

South African spokesperson Monyela said South Sudan was still in the process of unification, reconciliation and nation building, while trying to develop the country’s government structures and institutions after its independence in 2011.

“It is therefore highly unfortunate that an attempt was allegedly made to undermine the stability of the country,” he said.

Violent ethnic clashes erupted late Sunday night in the capital Juba. A presidential statement said the armed clashes were a military coup attempt planned by sacked vice-president Riek Machar.

Battles between troops loyal to Machar, South Sudan’s fugitive former vice president, and the government’s military continued early on Thursday.

“Our soldiers have lost control of Bor to the force of Riek Machar late on Wednesday,” army spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP news agency.

 

Source: Agencies

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