The mood of this rattled country, after the sudden death Sunday of the former rebel leader John Garang, is etched on the fearful faces of northern Arab merchants, surrounded by suitcases and nylon sacks, as they wait in the airport to flee further attacks by southerners.
The once-lively central market of this southern city is a deserted maze of smoldering fires and burned metal roofs after three days of rioting. Goats and children pick through the rubble of charred soda bottles, detergent boxes and plastic roses.
The hastily dug earth in a cemetery marks the sites where Arab families quickly buried their dead, as required by Muslim law, leaving unmarked graves and retreating to the shelter of military bases.
Officials said at least 13 people were killed in Juba, 720 miles south of the capital, Khartoum, during three days of mob violence, looting and ethnic tensions that erupted after Garang's death in a helicopter crash. In the Khartoum area, officials said 111 people had died and several hundred were injured. Another 1,500 were arrested.
The clashes in north and south have been mirror images, taking on the very themes of the civil war that ended in January with a peace deal negotiated by the government and Garang -- mostly African southerners feeling marginalized by the Arab-led north, mostly Muslim northerners feeling their religion and political position under threat from the south, which is mainly animist and Christian.
Garang, 60, was rewarded for helping to bring peace by becoming Sudan's senior vice president after leading rebels during the 21-year civil war.
Now, in the city where he is to be buried Saturday, the country's raw anger, and its deep ethnic and religious divides, are very much out in the open.
Juba, a city of about 350,000 on the Nile River that is tenuously under the control of 60,000 government troops, feels more like a frontline camp readying for war than a future regional capital preparing for a state funeral.
"All of the people here want to kill us," said Abdullah Ali Tabeb, an Arab merchant who said his family's cigarette and flour shops were set on fire. He said he had spent the last four days at the airport, with only water and biscuits to nourish him, in hopes of getting out. "They told the Arabs to go to Khartoum. They don't like us. We need peace."
Less than a mile away, Samuel Fadil, 37, an African southerner, surveyed the charred remains of three storefronts his father had rented to Arab traders. Despite his loss, he said, he sympathized with the looters and could understand their anger.
"People suspect that the Arabs killed our father Garang," he said, pointing at a still-burning shop. "We have no other source of income. But I am still much more angry over the death of Garang." There has been no report of foul play in the crash; both Garang's movement and the government have called it an accident.
Throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, gunshots rang out across the city. Half-burned public minibuses were abandoned on the roads. Children in ragged clothes grabbed sodas from shop debris. Soldiers guarded a soccer park called Freedom Square, now a temporary jail for looters.
In different corners of Juba, the division of opinion on Garang's death was as wide as the Nile.
Many southerners said they were convinced that the fatal crash was not an accident in bad weather but a plot to weaken the former rebel movement, cause ethnic chaos and deflect attention from the government's autocratic hold on power. Many northerners rushed to take the government's side, partly in exchange for protection from attack.
The government announced that it would deploy a large force of elite troops here during Garang's funeral, which is to be attended by President Omar Hassan Bashir, as there were fears the event could spark new violence. Meanwhile, Garang's body was being flown to various cities in the south so mourners could pay respects.
On Wednesday, armed members of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, Garang's former rebel group, arrived to help government forces restore calm -- and to protect the group's leaders.
Some analysts said they saw the government's military move as a warning to other brewing rebel movements, especially in the troubled western region of Darfur, where 2 million people have been displaced in a separate conflict.
"The mood of the country is manipulated in this divide-and-rule fashion," said Ollie Dinar, an African scholar in Khartoum. "Sudan's government has once again won. The people are now attacking each other instead of the government."
Dinar said images of southerners burning and looting have been played repeatedly on government television stations, provoking Arabs in Khartoum to fight back.
Whether calm will return, no one is sure.
The abrupt shift from peace to chaos began Sunday, as news spread that Garang's helicopter had crashed en route home from an official visit to Uganda.
In Juba, a group of Arabs lowered the rebel flag and called out to southerners, "Your man has died," said Joseph Abuk, 47, a teacher.
"There were extremely sarcastic and painful comments made," Abuk said. He said the years of civil war had created a deep "lack of trust between us Africans and Arabs. When it comes to the death of Garang," he added, "people are going to go beyond the simple appearance of issues."
Soon, he recounted, young followers of Garang went to the market with sticks and guns. In a "spontaneous burst of anger," he said, they started "burning everything." Arab merchants jumped into buses and fled to army facilities for protection.
Abuk, echoing many southerners' suspicions, suggested that Garang's helicopter could have been sabotaged in the air by terrorists or mercenaries on board.
But Adel Ismail, 45, an Arab merchant waiting wearily at the airport three days after being chased from his shop, said northerners and southerners alike respected Garang and did not want him dead.
"They've put in their minds that we killed Garang," Ismail said, his eyes watering. "I came to Juba to work after the peace deal. Everything was good here."
On Monday, Ismail said, he ran two miles to an army barracks, fleeing a mob of angry youths. On the way, a southern African woman hid him and made him tea. "The southerners are not all bad," he said, looking depressed.
In the eerily quiet dirt streets of Juba, hundreds of heavily armed government troops patrolled Wednesday and Thursday with AK-47s and grenades hanging from their belts. Antiaircraft guns bristled on the airport roof.
Under the peace deal reached in January, the government is scheduled to scale down its military presence and hand over control of the city within two years. Southerners said they view Garang's burial here, in a city they long fought to claim, as an important political gesture.
But Juba did not seem ready for the tens of thousands of mourners expected to arrive for Saturday's funeral.
Few women and children ventured into the rubble-strewn streets, and the few shoppers found prices for sugar and flour had suddenly doubled. Jane Martin, 30, bought a basket of burned onions to cook for her seven children.
"The prices are high. In the night, we don't sleep well," Martin said. "When there are gunshots, my children run and hide under the bed."
She glanced nervously around the burned market, at the government troops and the barbed wire surrounding Freedom Square, and at the rebel troops driving by in pickup trucks. Then, gripping her basket of onions, she turned and hurried home.