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South Sudan calls for calm

AFP
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photo:aFP
photo:aFP

Heavily armed South Sudanese troops and police guarded key government institutions in the capital Juba on Wednesday, as radio broadcasts called for calm after the president suspended his cabinet.

Those removed include two of the young country's most influential leaders - the vice president, Riek Machar, as well as Pagan Amum, the secretary-general of the ruling party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The sackings have sparked concern over potential instability in the fledgling nation, awash with guns, riven by ethnic rivalries and still reeling from decades of war.

"We are asking our citizens, please do your duty and go to work," said Barnaba Marial Benjamin, who until his suspension late Tuesday was the information minister and government spokesman. All 29 ministers were suspended as well as their deputies, in addition to 17 police brigadiers.

"Give the president a chance to form his government... he has already empowered the technocrats to see the day-to-day running of the administration," Benjamin said in a broadcast on the United Nations-supported Radio Miraya.AFP


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