South Sudan Cancels Independence Celebrations As Ethnic Clashes Looms

Charles Ayitey July 05, 2016

The Government of South Sudan has cancelled the country’s Independence Day celebrations that were scheduled for July 9 as the landlocked country continues to battle prolonged bouts of civil and ethnic conflict.

Meanwhile, President Salva Kiir will be addressing the nation in a televised broadcast on the said date of July 9 as the country marks five years since its secession from Sudan.

Various meanings have been read into the cancellation of the celebrations, but Information Minister Michael Makuei says the move is part of efforts to cut cost and save the country’s fragile economy, which is feared to have recorded an inflation rate of 300 percent.

“We decided not to celebrate the July 9 Independence Day, because we don’t want to spend that much. We need to spend the little that we have on other issues,” he revealed in an interview with reporters.

So far, fighting continues in the conflicted zone of Wau as about 40 persons are feared to have been killed in a week-long conflict described by government forces as an ethnic massacre. More than 160,000 civilians are currently seeking refuge in various UN-guarded camps across the volatile country.

“We’ve not been able to get access to the southern part of the town, which is apparently where most of the heavy artillery fire was,” a spokeswoman for the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), Shantal Persaud,  told Al Jazeera.

Last Edited by:Deidre Gantt Updated: June 19, 2018


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