South Sudan ‘clears out’ plotters of coup

Sporadic has gunfire been heard in the South Sudanese capital of Juba as the military “cleared out remnants” of a faction of soldiers accused of mounting a coup attempt.

Yesterday’s claim came form the country’s foreign minister amid a continuing hunt for the former deputy president who is accused of leading the failed plot.

Barnaba Marial Benjamin said that the military had arrested five political leaders with suspected links to the coup attempt but that many more were yet to be traced.

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Chief among the wanted is former vice president Riek Machar, he said, who was believed to be in hiding after he was fingered by President Salva Kiir as the politician favoured by a faction of soldiers who tried to seize power earlier this week.

“They are still looking for more... who are suspected of being behind the coup,” said Mr Benjamin, referring to the military.

Mr Machar, he said, “is wanted by the government” but the United States Embassy in Juba and the UN Mission in South Sudan have denied they are harbouring him.

The hunt for Mr Machar, an influential politician who is one of the heroes of a brutal war of independence waged against Sudan, threatens to send the world’s youngest country into further political upheaval following months of a power struggle between President Kiir and his former deputy.