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South Sudan, Salva Kiir declared state of emergency

By on January 2, 2014


South Sudanese President Salva Kiir declared an emergency in two states as the government prepared to start peace talks with rebels to stop violence that’s brought the country to the brink of a civil war since it began in mid- December.
The order applies to oil-rich Unity state and the Jonglei region, the government said on its Twitter account.
Fighting erupted in the world’s newest nation on Dec. 15, when Kiir accused his former Vice President Riek Machar of trying to stage a coup. Yesterday the rebels won control of the key eastern town of Bor, Jonglei’s capital. While the South Sudanese army has partially withdrawn from the town, fighting continues in some suburbs, the government said. Rebels are in full control of Unity, according to the Kenyan government.
“Civilians caught in Bor are in an increasingly dire situation,” United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Toby Lanzer said on his Twitter account. “Water, food and medicines are running out. Sanitary conditions are worsening.”
The conflict has largely been fought along ethnic lines, with Kiir’s Dinka community battling Machar’s Nuer group. The UN says “thousands” of people have died and about 180,000 people have been displaced, with 75,000 seeking protection at its camps in the country.
Peace Negotiations
Peace talks mediated by the East African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development are due to begin today in Addis Ababa, the capital of neighboring Ethiopia. Kiir’s government will be represented by a 13-member panel led by former Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial.
South Sudan seceded from neighboring Sudan in July 2011 and took three-quarters of the formerly united country’s crude output. Exports of the oil provide more than 95 percent of government revenue.
Some oil companies including China National Petroleum Corp. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. have temporarily evacuated employees from South Sudan.
The country has sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, according to BP Plc data. The landlocked country has been exporting all its crude — about 245,000 barrels a day — through pipelines across Sudan. The fighting has cut production to about 200,000 barrels daily.

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