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
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0056 GMT (0856 HKT)
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
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