A Facebook post by the Press Secretary of South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar is what caused the violence that has claimed 272 lives mostly soldiers according to South Sudan Embassy in Nairobi.
South Sudan Ambassador Chol Ajongo alleged that James Gatdet informed the army that Machar had been detained at the President’s palace, a message that was immediately acted upon with violence sending cold chills across the Capital of Juba.
“On 8th July, 2016, the SPLA-IO forces Spokesman James Gatdet, Press Secretary of Dr Riek Machar created and spread rumours that their leader Dr Riek Machar Teny was under arrest.”
According to Ajongo, Machar was on the contrary attending a security briefing meeting with President Salva Kiir, Vice President James Wani and other senior government officials at the J1, which is the presidential palace.
The meeting was being held in response to the killing of five of President Kiir’s soldiers on Thursday allegedly by Sudan People Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO).
“SPLA-IO forces proceeded to attack the government forces at J1 at 4.15 and killed many innocent soldiers.”
According to Ajongo, earlier on Friday, one of Machar’s soldiers had forced his way into the palace and after being denied access he shot at a security officer, an attack that could have provoked Machar’s spokesman to allege that he had been detained.
“One of the officers came into the palace and wanted to force his way through to where the meeting was taking place and as a result of that he was denied access to the building. He then shot the officer and the fighting broke out,” he explained.