S Sudan conflict deteriorating, Kenya warns

2014-02-26 07:43
Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

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Nairobi - Violence in war-torn South Sudan is worsening, neighbouring Kenya's top security body warned on Tuesday, condemning a "total disregard" by battling forces for a ceasefire deal it helped broker last month.

Thousands have been killed and almost 900 000 forced from their homes by over two months of battles between rebel and government forces, backed by troops from neighbouring Uganda.

Kenya's top defence body, the National Security Council (NSC) - which is headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta - called on all sides in the conflict to resume stalled peace efforts, warning of the "cost of inertia" if they did not return to talks.

"The NSC expressed deep concern over the continued and escalating military activities in South Sudan in total disregard and violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement," the body said in a statement.

The NSC also warned of a "worsening humanitarian crisis including the increased inflow of refugees".

Tens of thousands are still crammed into UN bases in fear of ethnic attacks by either President Salva Kiir's Dinka tribe or his former vice-president Riek Machar's Nuer tribe.

Atrocities have been committed by both sides, whether in the initial clashes that marked the start of the conflict in the capital Juba on December 15, or during repeated battles for strategic towns across the impoverished but oil-rich nation.

Kenya also ordered 300 more troops be sent to join the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan, to take its total contribution to 1 000.

Kenya was a key broker of long-running peace talks that ended the 1983-2005 Sudanese civil war, which pitched southern rebels - then in a united Sudan - against the government in Khartoum.

Read more on:    salva kiir  |  uhuru kenyatta  |  south sudan  |  kenya  |  east africa
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