UN compound Juba flooded with residents seeking refuge
The streets in Juba are almost deserted, but a group of civilians have started looting in Tomping, while fighting between SPLA soldiers seems to calm down. Once in while several shots are heard as reporters of Radio Tamazuj report. So far seven people have been confirmed dead as a result of crossfire in the streets. The UN compound in Tomping is flooded with thousands of local residents and many have to wait outside the compound. Other civilians tried to reach the hospital, but all traffic was stopped and people were sent back. An eyewitness saw three dead bodies at the fire brigade opposite Malakia police station. The relatives were desperate for help.
Hundreds of civilians have been seeking refuge in the UNMISS compound adjacent to the international airport and at the UN House in the Jebel Kujur area, a large number being women and children.
Later in the day, some people in Hai Malakal and Hai Cinama started te get out out in the streets again, despite the formal curfew during the whole day announced by president Salva Kiir. Most of them keep close to their compounds, sitting in groups on their porches or under trees. People are downplaying the nightly events, saying that the fighting does not scare them: “After all what we have been through, this is minor fighting.” Most of the shops are closed although there are some exceptions. Slowly some cars started to drive. One man tried to reach the hospital by motorbike transportation but was stopped and searched. After telling he was on his way to the hospital he was let through. International Red Cross has been seen driving through the streets with an flag on top of the car.
Currently people are still trapped inside their areas in Jebel Market Area and other parts of Jebel and some parts of Jubarona near the bridge. Special forces are sending them back to their houses, while some inhabitants of the areas of Jubarona, Kator and Khor William are are taking refuge in Kator St. Theresa Cathlic Cathedral.
Ambulances are driving on and off for taking casualties from Bilpam to Juba Teaching Hospital. A witness saw three ambulances with over six pick-ups, every pick up carrying at least four casualties. Civilian casualties have been reported but are not able to move to the hospitals. Medical personnel is unable to get acces to the hospital due to the road blocks. The airport is closed and there are reports SPLA tanks were on the move South From the airport towards ministries.
Around 500-600 civilians have come into the UN camp in Tomping near the airport. The UNMISS head, Hilde Johnson expressed her deep concerns and asks for restraint of violence. She said she had talked to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and to Riek Machar, Deputy Chairman of the SPLM, and called on both of them to call for restraint, as well as the Defence Minister, the Minister of National Security and the Foreign Minister.
”While UNMISS is not a humanitarian operator, and our mandate is to protect civilians, basic water supplies and medical treatment are being provided. We hope the security situation in Juba will quickly normalize to enable the civilians to return very soon to their residential areas", UNMISS told Radio Tamazuj.
News photo: Civilians arriving at UNMISS compound adjacent to Juba