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South Sudan on edge as army hunts coup plotters

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 17, 2013 at 7:02 a.m.

KAMPALA, Uganda — Sporadic gunfire continued to ring out in South Sudan's capital, Juba, as the military "cleared out remnants" of a faction of soldiers accused of mounting a coup attempt, the foreign minister said Tuesday amid growing tension over the likely fate of the former deputy president who is accused of leading the failed plot.

Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the military had arrested five political leaders with suspected links to the coup attempt and that many more were yet to be traced. Chief among the wanted is former Vice President Riek Machar, he said, who is now believed to be in hiding after he was identified by President Salva Kiir as the political leader favored by a faction of soldiers who tried to seize power earlier this week.

"They are still looking for more ... who are suspected of being behind the coup," Benjamin said, referring to the military.

Machar, he said, "is wanted by the government." The United States Embassy in Juba and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan denied they are harboring Machar, he said.

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