Live updates

'At least 200 drown' fleeing South Sudan fighting

At least 200 South Sudanese civilians have drowned in a ferry accident on the White Nile river while fleeing fighting in the city of Malakal, Agence France-Presse have reported.

An army spokesman reportedly said the boat was "overloaded" and was carrying "between 200 to 300 people, including women and children".

Thousands of South Sudanese civilians have been displaced by fighting. Credit: REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu

Heavy fighting was reported in Malakal, state capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state, as rebel forces staged a fresh attack to seize the town.

According to the United Nations, some 400,000 civilians have fled their homes over the past month.

The fighting is between South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

Read: South Sudan talks on ceasefire begin

South Sudan talks on ceasefire begin

A South Sudanese army soldier in the country's oil capital Malakal last week. Credit: Reuters/James Akena

South Sudanese rebels and a government delegation have started peace talks to try to end fighting that has left the world's newest state on the brink of civil war.

The talks in neighbouring Ethiopia will focus on brokering a ceasefire to halt three weeks of violence that has killed at least 1,000 people and driven 200,000 from their homes.

Taban Deng Gai is head of the rebel delegation in Addis Ababa. Credit: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

"We have begun our meeting on the cessation of hostilities," a member of the government delegation told Reuters. The fighting, often along ethnic faultlines, has pitted President Salva Kiir's SPLA government forces against rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.

Advertisement

South Sudanese rebels 'seize control of Bor'

South Sudanese rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar have seized control of Bor, the capital of restive Jonglei state, the town's Mayor has said.

Nhial Majak Nhial told Reuters that government troops loyal to President Salva Kiir had made a "tactical withdrawal" to Malual Chaat army barracks, some two miles south of the town yesterday.

Report: South Sudanese troops fight rebels in Bor

Report: South Sudanese troops fight rebels in Bor

South Sudanese troops fought rebels believed to be loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar on Tuesday in the flashpoint town of Bor, its mayor said.

Bor lies 190 km (120 miles) to the north of the South Sudanese capital Juba
Bor lies 190 km (120 miles) to the north of the South Sudanese capital Juba Credit: Google Maps

"We are fighting the rebels now," Mayor Nhial Majak Nhial told Reuters by phone from the outskirts of Bor. Gunfire could be heard in the background.

Advertisement

Uganda issues warning to South Sudan rebels

Uganda's president has warned rebel forces loyal to former South Sudan vice president that the region will unite to "defeat" him if he rejects a ceasefire offer.

Speaking in South Sudan's capital Juba, Yoweri Museveni said a regional bloc known as IGAD had given Riek Machar, who is accused of mounting a failed coup, "four days to respond" to the government's offer.

People walk past a burnt-out shop in Malakal, northeast of the South Sudan capital Juba.
People walk past a burnt-out shop in Malakal, northeast of the South Sudan capital Juba. Credit: REUTERS/James Akena

"If he doesn't we shall have to go for him, all of us," he said.

A meeting of East African leaders said last week it "welcomed the commitment" by South Sudan's government to cease hostilities against rebels and urged both sides to start peace talks by today.

South Sudan forces battle 'White Army'

South Sudan's army today fought with "White Army" ethnic militia, accusing rebels of mobilising the force despite its offer of a truce to end the conflict in the new country.

South Sudan army soldiers ride a truck in Bor. Credit: REUTERS/James Akena

The White Army - made up largely of Nuer youths who dust their bodies with ash - clashed with government troops 18 miles from the town of Bor five days after rebels were driven out, Information Minister Michael Makuei said.

A rebel spokesman denied the White Army was controlled by Riek Machar, the former vice president whose followers oppose President Salva Kiir.

Hague: No military solution to South Sudan conflict

Foreign Secretary William Hague said he spoke to South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president Dr Riek Machar urging them to commit to a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK was ready to provide diplomatic support to peace talks in Sudan Credit: Reuters

In a statement, the Foreign Secretary called:

"I have spoken today to President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar to urge them both to commit to an immediate ceasefire. This is vital to prevent the deaths of more innocent civilians and to enable international humanitarian aid to reach people in desperate need.

"There can be no military solution to this conflict. I confirmed the UK’s full support for the negotiations proposed by African leaders, and I encouraged President Kiir and Dr Machar to enter into negotiations immediately and without preconditions.

"The UK stands ready to provide diplomatic support to those talks.

"I attended the independence celebrations of South Sudan in Juba in 2011 and witnessed the hope and optimism felt by its people after years of conflict and sacrifice. Their safety and their future must be put first.

A worsening conflict that causes South Sudan to slip back would be a tragedy."

Read: Foreign Secretary urges peace in South Sudan

Foreign Secretary urges peace in South Sudan

911228fea5ee805af29d5d0d2af45ab5_normal

.@williamjhague has spoken to #SouthSudan Pres. Kiir & rebel leader Dr Machar to urge them to negotiate towards peace http://t.co/etWkLE95Xp

Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke to the president of South Sudan and the rebel leader Dr Machar today, urging them to negotiate towards peace.

Read: South Sudan rebels 'not confident of ceasefire offer'

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories