The United States is evacuating more embassy staff today from the South Sudanese capital of Juba amid worsening security in the country.
An emergency message to US citizens on the Embassy website said the decision to order a further drawdown of personnel was due to a "deteriorating security situation". It said there would be an evacuation flight later today arranged by the US State Department.
A travel advisory said: "We continue to urge US citizens in South Sudan to depart the country. The US Embassy will no longer [be] able to provide any consular services to US citizens in the Republic of South Sudan as of 4 January, 2014.
"US citizens who are not able to take advantage of the evacuation flight should review their personal security situation and strongly consider taking advantage of any existing commercial flights. We anticipate that the Juba airport will be open from 8am to 5pm 3 January for limited commercial flights."
Violent clashes began on 15 December when fighting emerged between President Salva Kir and supporters of his former deputy Riek Machar. At least 180,000 people have been displaced by the conflict and up to 1,000 people have been killed.
In pictures: Victims of the conflict in South Sudan
In pictures: Victims of the conflict in South Sudan
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The international Red Cross said that the road from Bor to the nearby Awerial area 'is lined with thousands of people' waiting for boats so they could cross the Nile River and that the gathering of displaced 'is the largest single identified concentration of displaced people in the country so far'
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People unload the few belongings at Minkammen, that they were able to bring with them to the camps
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Hundreds of civilians fleeing violence in Bor region arrive at dawn to one of the many small ports that run alongside the camps in Awerial region, having crossed over the Nile River by night
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Thousands of exhausted civilians are crowding into the fishing village of Minkammen, a once-tiny riverbank settlement of a few thatch huts 25 kilometres (20 miles) southwest of Bor
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Many people had spent days hiding out in the bush outside Bor as gunmen battled for control of the town, which has exchanged hands three times in the conflict, and remains in rebel control
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People on a boat that arrives at the camps in Minkammen
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A man who arrived a number of days earlier helps a young newly arrived displaced boy from a river barge, some of the thousands who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, in the town of Awerial
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Displaced people who fled from recent fighting in Bor queue outside a clinic run by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) set up in a school building in the town of Awerial
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Mothers and their babies who fled from recent fighting in Bor, many of whom are suffering from dehydration and diarrhea due to the lack of any sanitation, queue outside a clinic
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Local residents tend to their livestock in the town of Awerial which has received a sudden influx of thousands of displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile
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A young boy pulls his suitcase of belongings as he walks to find a place to rest after getting off a river barge from Bor
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A displaced family camp under a tree providing partial shade from the midday sun
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The UN warns that the people caught up in the conflict in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, are in dire need of food, water, sanitary facilities and medical supplies
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Almost 200,000 people have fled their homes and there are reports of mass killings along ethnic lines
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A boy carries a fish, caught from the nearby Nile river, in a cardboard box on his head back to his relatives to eat
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A mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up in the morning after sleeping in the open
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People queue for medical care at a clinic run by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) set up in a school building in the town of Awerial
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A girl returns from gathering firewood while others extract water from a well
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A displaced woman arrives with what belongings she had time to gather by river barge from Bor
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A boy carries his belongings through mud after arriving by river barge from Bor
Kiir has accused his long-term political rival Machar, whom he sacked in July, of initiating the fighting in a bid to seize power, a claim which Machar denies.
Kiir's government and the rebels have sent negotiators to neighbouring Ethiopia for peace talks. They have yet to meet face-to-face but have separately met mediators from the East African bloc IGAD.
Rebel spokesman Moses Ruai Lat, based in the northern state of Unity, said today his comrades, who have seized control of Jonglei state's capital Bor, were now marching towards Juba and were nearing the capital.
His comments came a day after the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), which is loyal to the government, said its forces were advancing on Bor, a strategic town some 190 km (118 miles) by road north of Juba, to meet rebel militia heading south.
In the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the peace negotiations have got off to a slow start.
"Both delegations are meeting the mediators separately," said Dina Mufti, a spokesman for Ethiopia's foreign ministry. "We hope to bring both sides into face-to-face talks soon."
The country has been plagued by ethnic tension and a power struggle within the ruling party since it became the world’s youngest independent state in July 2011.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content