South Sudan police said on Thursday that the security in Juba and other parts of the country has significantly improved since the declaration of the cease-fire by President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar on Monday.
Police Spokesperson Brigadier Daniel Justine Bolo said the security situation has generally remained calm since Monday with no major incidents of insecurity being reported.
“We have not experienced any security threat in Juba. The police and Juba City Council have put measures to reduce crime especially looting of houses and markets by deploying special force in public places. So we don’t have any problem.”
He said the police have made several arrests in the city following looting of homes and markets during the fierce fighting in Juba that displaced thousands of civilians from their homes.
“We have arrested many people who looted people’s property and the markets of Jebel, Gudele and Checkpoint. But now we can’t give accurate figures of those arrested because the number of criminals caught looting keep on changing. So we are going to update the public about the arrests when we get the right figures,” Bolo said.
He said the police are helping humanitarian organizations in collecting bodies of those who were killed during the clashes. More than 300 people are believed to have died in the fighting.
“We (police) are also removing dead bodies from the streets and residential areas. We shall reveal the figures when we complete the operation,” he said.
Shops in Juba that survived looting have reopened and citizens are beginning to carry on with their daily lives, but many public and private organizations remain closed in Juba.
Despite the calm in Juba, there have been pockets of reported cases of fighting and civilian displacements in Lainya County of Yei River State and gun attacks along the juba-Kampala high way in the past three days.
Augustino Kiri Gwolo, Lainya County Commissioner, confirmed that thousands of civilians have fled the town after eruption of gunfire Wednesday morning, adding that the identity of those fighting remains unknown.
“Yes there are no civilians in Lainya as I talk to you now. I don’t know the cause of the fighting yesterday but what we are seeing are the soldiers patrolling the town. I have no information about the people fighting,” Gwolo said.
However, when contacted for comment about reported fighting in the country, South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Spokesperson Brigadier General Lul Ruai Konag said: “I have no reports of fighting in the country and I’m yet to get a very good update, so I have no comment.”
Renewed fighting between rival forces loyal to President Kiir and his deputy Machar that started last week has left the 2015 August peace agreement in the balance.
Fighting ended Monday after the two rivals issued orders for ceasefire which looks to be holding but thousands of civilians still live in temporary camps across Juba after fleeing the conflict.
The head of South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission (PRC), Chuol Rambang Luoth called on South Sudan’s leaders to act and save the August 2015 peace pact from unraveling.
“We are urging the principals to the peace agreement to urgently come together so as to arrange the way forward to fix what happened because the situation now require a decision,” Luoth told journalists in Juba Thursday.
Luoth appealed to aid agencies to provide humanitarian assistance to thousands of people affected by the recent fighting in Juba.
“People lost a lot of their belongings during the crisis and there is need for immediate intervention for food and non food items for the people of Juba. The early the better otherwise the situation is very bad and can lead us into a very bad situation,” Luoth said.
More than two million people are thought to have been displaced and thousands killed during a civil war that erupted in December 2013.
The United Nations and regional blocs such as the Inter-government Authority on Development (IGAD) which brokered the August peace deal this week proposed punitive actions like targeted sanctions on the country’s leaders if they fail to adhere to the provisions of the agreement.