Neighbors Endorse South Sudan Government Amid Violence

The regional bloc says it has South Sudan's assurances that it will end hostilities, but violence across the country persists

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South Sudan’s neighbors endorsed the government of President Salva Kiir on Friday as ethnic fighting risked further destabilizing the young state and spilling over its borders.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the east Africa cooperative body — the Inter Governmental Authority on Development— supported Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, amid violence that the South Sudan president alleges is a coup backed by former vice president Riek Machar of the Nuer tribe, Reuters reports.

“Let it be known that we in IGAD will not accept the unconstitutional overthrow of a duly and democratically elected government in South Sudan,” Kenyatta said in a statement.

The IGAD met for an emergency summit Friday as clashes around the country entered their 13th day, and it announced that it had received assurances from the South Sudan government that it would end hostilities, the Associated Press reports.

Machar, who denies instigating a coup but has since called for Kiir’s removal, has demanded his political allies be released before peace talks can began.

The violence that broke out Dec. 15 has killed at least 1,000 people, according to the United Nations, and already embroiled foreign powers. Last week, four United States service members on a mission to evacuate U.S. citizens were hurt when rebels fired on their CV-22 Ospreys.

On Tuesday, the U.N. voted to double the number of international peacekeepers to roughly 13,800 troops.

[Reuters]

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