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Juba: Protest leaders go into hiding

The leaders of a planned protest in Juba have all gone into hiding, fearing a crackdown by state security forces…

The leaders of a planned protest in Juba have all gone into hiding, fearing a crackdown by state security forces who are out in the street of the South Sudanese capital in force, APA can report on Tuesday.Anti-riot police have been deployed in the streets of the capital since Monday morning in anticipation of trouble as political activists call for protests aimed at forcing President Salva Kiir to resign as head of a shaky unity government.

The internet has been shut down.

At least five senior members of the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) were in hiding, fearing for their lives after the government issued a tough warning against protesters taking to the streets.

PCCA sources say the planned protest was meant to be peaceful but the government has been poised to respond to it with “utmost violence”.

Witnesses speak of tanks being seen in several intersections of the capital as heavily armed personnel of the South Sudan National Police Service patrol the apparently deserted streets of Juba.

Rights groups say several arrests had been made including the detention of some journalists in the lead up to the planned demonstration.

The organisers of the demonstration had timed their mass action with the inauguration by President Kiir of a new parliament, one of the key conditions of the 2018 peace agreement which ended years of conflict between government troops and a militia loyal to now vice president Riek Machar.

South Sudan has been mired in a vicious civil war since December 2013, leaving some 400, 000 people dead and more than two million internally displaced.  

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