The president of South Sudan said his guards fended off renegade soldiers who were attempting to overthrow the government, a clash that exposes the oil-rich nation's fragmented and fragile political situation.
Dressed in military fatigues, President Salva Kiir told reporters in the capital city of Juba on Monday that his forces were in control following a night of fighting with soldiers from an army faction loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.
"Justice will prevail and those attackers are being pursued," Mr. Kiir said. "This was an attempted coup but it failed."
The president declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Juba, while thousands of civilians sought shelter at United Nations bases in the city. More than 100 wounded were being treated at a Juba hospital, U.N. radio said.
Some analysts said the violence may not have been an actual coup attempt but rather infighting between their respective military factions that got out of hand.
"It doesn't seem to be a full-fledged coup attempt in the sense that there's an organized attempt by Machar to seize power. It appears a bit disorganized," said Magdi el Gizouli, an analyst with Kenya's Rift Valley Institute, based in Germany….