The death toll from fighting in South Sudan’s capital Juba has climbed to 272 people, including 33 civilians, a source at the country’s ministry of health told Reuters on Sunday.
The fighting broke out last week between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and vice president Riek Machar. Both men have said they did not know what had triggered the latest violence between their factions.
The two sides have not yet released an official statement giving the casualty figures, though hospital sources and military officers involved in verification of the bodies give conflicting figures. Government sources claimed to have counted 180 dead bodies just outside the presidential gate south of one of the main entrance sites according to the Sudan Tribune.
Multiple military medical personnel at the SPLA military hospital told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that they did not sleep as they were receiving lots of soldiers with gunshot wounds, most of whom in critical condition seeking immediate attention.
“We did not sleep the whole of yesterday [Friday] night. We received more [than]58 soldiers with gunshot wounds by around 8pm yesterday evening and received 30 others this morning. We have now run out of beds,” a military medical officer told Sudan Tribune on Saturday when reached to comment on the number of casualty figures they have received.
William Gatjiath Deng,the spokesman for Machar’s military faction told the media yesterday that at least 115 bodies had been counted so far.
“In the morning we collected and counted 35 (dead) from the SPLM-IO (Machar’s faction) and 80 people from the government forces,” he said.
After a day of silence, gunfire was once again heard in South Sudan’s capital on Sunday as former rebels and government soldiers exchanged fire on the outskirts of the city.
Residents fled the area as the UN reported the use of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and “heavy ground assault weaponry”.