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South Sudan president declares a state of emergency


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South Sudan president declares a state of emergency

A the violence escalates in South Sudan, international pressure is growing on government and rebel delegations to begin talks in Ethiopia.

Both have agreed a ceasefire in principle but not when the fighting will stop.

In the meantime, President Salva Kiir has declared a state of emergency in two parts of the country (Jonglei and Unity states) where rebels have taken control.

Additional UN peacekeeping troops have arrived as the dispute which began as a power struggle between the president and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar, takes on overtones of a tribal conflict.

Since the fighting erupted last month at least 1,000 people have died. More than 200,000 have fled their homes, many seeking refuge in a UN camp outside the capital Juba.

One woman caught up in the conflict is Kim Campbell, as well as her husband and two daughters. They have been running an orphanage for two years but the fighting has forced them to seek safety along with ten of their young charges.

“We tried to leave the compound once and then, whether they were firing to scare us, or they were firing at us, or they were firing at other soldiers, there was gunfire going off as we were headed in their direction. Missiles flew over our head and we ran back to the compound. So it took two attempts to get to the UN base,” she said.

The United Nations has called for an end to the bloodletting and for Africa’s youngest nation to pull back from the brink of all out civil war. It has also accused both sides of committing atrocities and war crimes.

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