Embattled South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar has spoken out about the hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between his forces and those loyal to President Salva Kiir.
The fighting has stopped flights to and from Juba airport but according to UPDF spokesperson Paddy Ankunda, Ugandan troops will soon be deploy in South Sudan upon official request from the government there.
Dr. Machar is hiding at the residence of France ambassador in Gudelle West of Juba city, reports Sudan Tribune.
On Monday afternoon, EagleOnline’s reporter in Juba said heavy gunfire and large explosions could be heard all over the city; he said heavy artillery was being used.
Dr Machar then took to his Twitter account to react to the fighting, and his posts showed a fierce leader shaken.
“I urge calm and restraint throughout these skirmishes. I’m safe. No one should take laws in their own hands to destabilise this country,” Machar wrote.
Another tweet said: “In the last 2 hrs, we went through heavy bombardments by President Kiir helicopters. This tells that our partner is not interested in peace.”
“In all these, I’ve hope that we’ve a future as a country. We came to Juba knowing that a country needs all of us. I’ve not lose that hope,” he added.
As expected, some civilians questioned his commitment to stopping the killings. One Taban Alex Donato @tabanDona1 told off Machar saying South Sudan’s future are children being denied inalienable rights to live in peace and questioned who is responsible for their deaths in the last 48 hours.
A Kenyan blogger Jackson Muigai had a sterner accusation on his twitter handle:”@drriekmachar you make people die in Juba while you hide your family in Nairobi? Shame.”
The situation in South Sudan has echoes of the days before the civil war began, in December 2013, when skirmishes between troops loyal to Mr Kiir and Mr Machar escalated into a national bloodbath, killing tens of thousands and displacing two million.
As artillery fire rings out in the capital Juba and a helicopter gunship buzzes overhead, desperate work is under way to try to calm the situation and to prevent the clashes from spreading.
But huge distrust remains between Mr Kiir and Mr Machar and between their forces. The leaders may even be struggling to control their own troops.
Relations between the two men have been fractious since South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011.
Their forces have fought a civil war. But despite a peace deal last year ending the conflict, both sides retain their military capabilities and have continued to accuse each other of bad faith.
A number of peace deals have been signed – so far, none has led to lasting stability.