South Sudan warring factions recommit to peace deal

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South Sudan’s warring factions have signed a commitment to settle key security sections of a peace deal, after breaking the pact multiple times in the past.

The agreement hoped to kick-start stalled talks for key military sections of a deal struck in August, including the demilitarization of the capital Juba, the positions of troops on both sides and steps towards the creation of a unified army.

The army and the rebels have repeatedly traded blame, accusing each other of breaking the peace deal that was internationally brokered for a ceasefire, the eighth of such an agreement.

Civil war began in December 2013 when President Salza Kiir accused his then deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings across the country. The conflict split the poverty-stricken country along ethnic lines.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed, and UN-backed experts have warned of the “concrete risk of famine” before the end of the year, if fighting continues and aid does not reach the hardest hit areas.

Both sides are accused of having perpetrated ethnic massacres, recruited and killed children and carried out widespread rape, torture and forced displacement of populations to “cleanse” areas of their opponents.

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