President declares unilateral ceasefire
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has declared a “unilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities”, and ordered government troops to “disengage” from fighting rival forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar, following days of violence that left hundreds dead. The order was announced on Monday by presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny.
“The president talked to Machar...they have talked about controlling their forces in an attempt to salvage what has remained of the peace agreement,” Ateny said, calling on Machar and his forces to follow the president’s order.
The announcement was made as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on the international body to impose an “immediate arms embargo” on the world’s youngest independent state.
Earlier on Monday, renewed clashes broke out in the capital, forcing thousands of civilians to flee and raising fears of a slide back into all-out conflict in the five-year-old country.
At least 272 people have been killed in the recent violence, a health ministry source said.