Skip to main content

South Sudan's neighbors threaten to step in to end fighting

From Mading Ngor, for CNN
December 27, 2013 -- Updated 2338 GMT (0738 HKT)
Students take notes during an English language class at the Juba Nabari Primary School in Juba, South Sudan, on Wednesday, April 9. Recent conflict in the country has made resources scarce; many civil servants, including teachers, have not received their pay for several months. South Sudan erupted in violence on December 15 when rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar tried to stage a coup. Violence quickly spread, with reports of mass killings emerging nationwide. Students take notes during an English language class at the Juba Nabari Primary School in Juba, South Sudan, on Wednesday, April 9. Recent conflict in the country has made resources scarce; many civil servants, including teachers, have not received their pay for several months. South Sudan erupted in violence on December 15 when rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar tried to stage a coup. Violence quickly spread, with reports of mass killings emerging nationwide.
HIDE CAPTION
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
Escaping violence in South Sudan
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: 72 of 5,500 new peacekeepers have arrived in Juba, the U.N. says
  • East African leaders tell South Sudan government, rebels to stop fighting or else
  • Group says it will take unspecified action if fighting doesn't stop within four days
  • South Sudan's government says it's ready to adopt a cease-fire

Juba, South Sudan (CNN) -- East African leaders on Friday gave South Sudan's warring factions four days to lay down their arms after nearly two weeks of widening violence.

If they don't, the leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) warned they'll "take action" to stop the conflict that the United Nations says has killed more than 1,000 and forced some 121,000 from their homes.

The warning came the same day the United Nations said the first of 5,500 additional peacekeepers had arrived in the country.

The leaders of the IGAD didn't specify what sort of action would be taken. But a communique issued Friday in Nairobi, Kenya, appears to throw the group's weight behind South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

In a joint statement by the leaders of the IGAD said they would not accept a violent overthrow of the country's democratically elected government, and said any change must come through the democratic process.

Kiir has accused rival politician Riek Machar, his former vice president, of trying to stage a coup. Machar has denied involvement in a coup.

Fighting broke out between Kiir's government and supporters of Machar on December 15 in the capital city of Juba. It quickly spread across the country, with reports of mass killings as evidenced by mass graves.

Kiir and Machar are longtime rivals from two different tribal clans -- Kiir is from the Dinka tribe, Machar from the Neur.

South Sudan's government said it has agreed "in principle" to a cease-fire demanded by the IGAD, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told CNN.

Leith said Kiir's government is open to "unconditional dialogue" to end the violence.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development appointed envoys from Kenya and Ethiopia to help broker a deal.

Machar hasn't responded to the proposal, leaving it unclear Friday what immediate impact the agreement would have on the fighting.

The news of a possible deal comes as United Nations officials work feverishly to finalize details of sending peacekeeping reinforcements to South Sudan. The U.N. hopes to send them in no later than Saturday to help protect the 50,000 people now crowding U.N. bases, seeking shelter from the fighting.

On Friday, 72 peacekeepers arrived in Juba, according to the United Nations. It was the first group of an additional 5,500 peacekeepers approved by U.N. Security Council. The additional personnel will increase the total peacekeeping force in South Sudan to 12,500 soldiers and 1,323 police officers.

Meanwhile, U.N. officials and aid workers struggled to protect and provide food, shelter and medical care to those who have fled the fighting, which has spread to seven of South Sudan's 10 states, according to the United Nations.

More than 63,000 people have crowded on to U.N. bases in South Sudan seeking shelter from the violence, requiring a massive influx of aid.

U.N. workers on Friday were able to resupply a U.N.-operated hospital in Malakal, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Toby Lanzer said on Twitter.

The U.N. Humanitarian Air Service also began flying in aid workers and supplies, he said.

Read: Fears of civil war drive leaders to South Sudan to talk peace

Read: In South Sudan city, victims of violence reliving memories

CNN's Azadeh Ansari, Nana Karikari-apau, Moni Basu, Chelsea J. Carter in Atlanta, and journalist Kenneth Mijungu in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0204 GMT (1004 HKT)
Obama's remarks that he didn't yet have a strategy for ISIS in Syria is widely criticized.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism that it stifles democracy.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT)
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about trying to get a hostage home alive.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
South Africa Music Legends stamps
Artist Hendrik Gericke puts a spotlight on iconic performers from South Africa in these incredible monochrome illustrations.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT