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A timeline of the violence in South Sudan

After two weeks of fighting in the world’s newest nation, thousands of people are thought to be dead. Here’s a timeline of the violence.

Image: Ben Curtis/AP/Press Association Images

SOUTH SUDAN’S WARRING parties are set to begin peace talks in Ethiopia after more than two weeks of fighting between government forces and those loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar.

Here is a timeline of the violence in the world’s newest nation which is feared to have killed thousands of people and displaced some 200,000.

December 15:

- Heavy gunfire erupts overnight in South Sudan’s capital Juba around a barracks close to the city centre.

December 16:

- President Salva Kiir blames forces loyal to Machar, who was dismissed in July.

Kiir comes from the Dinka people — the largest ethnic group — and Machar from the Nuer, the second biggest.

December 17:

- The government says it has arrested 10 people, including eight former ministers, and is tracking Machar.

December 19:

- Rebels loyal to Machar seize the strategic town of Bor, capital of the eastern powderkeg state of Jonglei.

- Machar calls for Kiir to be overthrown and accuses him of trying to “incite inter-ethnic fighting”.

- US President Barack Obama says that South Sudan stands at the “precipice” of civil war and deploys several dozen US soldiers to ensure the safety of Americans.

- The African Union sends a peacekeeping mission.

December 21:

- Four US troops are wounded when their aircraft comes under fire during an evacuation mission to Bor.

December 22:

- Rebels seize the capital of oil producing Unity state, Bentiu, north of Juba.

December 24:

- Mass grave is reported by the United Nations to have been found in Bentiu.

- The UN Security Council agrees to almost double the size of the military peacekeeping force in South Sudan to 12,500 troops.

December 27:

- Government forces and rebels claim control of the key oil town of Malakal, capital of Upper Nile State in the northeast.

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December 28:

- The government reiterates accusations that Machar is mobilising up to 25,000 youths to attack its interests.

December 31:

- Rebels claim to have recaptured Bor.

- Machar agrees to send envoys to peace negotiations in Addis Ababa but rejects face-to-face talks with Kiir and tells AFP his forces are marching on the capital.

- Kiir rules out power sharing with the rebels.

- The African Union threatens “targeted sanctions” over the violence.

January 1:

- Ugandan lawmakers accuses President Yoweri Museveni of meddling in the conflict.

January 2:

- Envoys from both sides arrive in Addis Ababa, but it might take several days to begin formal talks, Ethiopia’s foreign minister says.

Read: UN says many prisoners, civilians killed in South Sudan
Read: Goal has evacuated staff from South Sudan

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