Fighting persisted in parts of South Sudan’s oil-producing region today as African leaders tried to advance peace talks between the country’s president and the political rivals he accuses of attempting a coup in the world’s newest country.
The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, met with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir. A senior government official warned that Riek Machar, the former vice-president who now allegedly commands renegade forces in the states of Unity and Upper Nile, had to renounce rebellion before the government would negotiate with him.
The UN is investigating reports of mass killings since violence began spreading across South Sudan after a fight between two ethnic groups within the presidential guard on 15 December.
Government troops are trying to retake control of Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity state. There was also fighting reported in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state.