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African leaders seek solution to S. Sudan crisis
December 27, 2013, 6:28 am

Kiir, above, accused his vice-president of orchestrating a coup [Getty Images]

Kiir, above, accused his vice-president of orchestrating a coup [Getty Images]

African leaders met on Thursday in hopes of ending the growing conflict in South Sudan before it escalates into a civil war.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn flew into the capital Juba for closed-door talks with President of South Sudan Salva Kiir as fighting between rival tribal militia intensified around Malakal in the north oil-rich region of the country.

The security situation in South Sudan began to deteriorate on December 15 when President Salva Kiir accused his former Vice-President Riek Machar of masterminding a coup attempt. Some reports said that members of the Presidential Guard loyal to Machar engaged in a gun battle with security forces supporting Kir.

Hostilities erupted when other supporters of the two men, from rival tribes, clashed in the capital Juba, which has since been stabilised by the South Sudan Army loyal to Kiir.

However, the UN reported on Friday that fighting had spread to over 20 towns throughout South Sudan.

UN officials told the media that efforts were underway to begin landing the first detachment of additional troops by December 28.

Earlier this week, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to dispatch an additional 5,500 UN soldiers and some 700 additional police to reinforce 7,000 soldiers already deployed as part of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which also includes some 2,000 experts, observers and aid workers.

Source: Agencies