South Sudan president says coup has been repulsed

South Sudan president says coup has been repulsed

JUBA - The Associated Press
South Sudan president says coup has been repulsed

Photo taken on July 14, 2011 shows Riek Machar, then Vice-President of South Sudan, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly after the body voted to admit the newly formed nation of South Sudan to the UN at the UN headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO

Soldiers loyal to a former vice president attempted to overthrow the government of South Sudan, the country's president said Dec. 16, as sporadic fighting between factions of the military gripped the capital in the latest violence to hit the world's youngest nation.

Flanked by government officials, President Salva Kiir -who put on fatigues with an army general's epaulets - said in a televised address to the nation that the military had foiled a coup orchestrated by "a group of soldiers allied with the former vice president." The soldiers had attacked the South Sudanese military headquarters near Juba University late Dec. 15, sparking sporadic clashes that continued Monday, he said.

"The attackers went and (the) armed forces are pursuing them," Kiir said Dec 16. "I promise you today that justice will prevail."

The government is now "in full control of the military situation" in Juba, he said, ordering a dawn-to-dusk curfew in the city.

South Sudan has experienced bouts of ethnic violence, especially in rural Jonglei state, since the country peacefully broke away from Sudan after a brutal civil war.