Soldiers brought scores of bodies to a hospital in South Sudan's capital after gunfire erupted throughout Juba on Friday evening, a doctor at the hospital said Saturday, as panicked residents worried of a return to civil war. The morgue is full at Juba Teaching Hospital, the doctor said, but a total count of the dead is not available because soldiers are not allowing doctors to examine the bodies. Another doctor there estimated 110 bodies, both soldiers and civilians. The gunfire Friday began outside the presidential compound as President Salva Kiir was meeting with first vice president and former rebel leader Riek Machar and soon spread through the city, the AP reports.
Gunfire continued into the night outside a United Nations base in Juba sheltering more than 25,000 people. The former rivals issued a joint call for calm and residents were reporting quiet streets Saturday morning, on South Sudan's fifth anniversary of independence. Many people remained indoors. The latest spasm of violence began Thursday night with shooting between opposing army factions who are supposed to be carrying out joint patrols under a fragile peace deal reached last year. That shooting, which killed five soldiers, was similar to the skirmish between soldiers in Juba in December 2013 that led to the civil war in which tens of thousands of people were killed.