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Regional states to meet on South Sudan tensions

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(FILES) In this file photograph taken on February 14, 2019, a member of SPLA-IO stands guard as peace talks take place in Pageri, Imatong State, South Sudan. – Deadly fighting erupted on August 7, 2021, between rival factions of South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar’s SPLA-IO, his military spokesman said in a statement. The clashes erupted after Machar’s rivals declared this week they had deposed him as the head of the party and its military forces. (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE / AFP)

Regional African body IGAD said it planned to hold emergency talks on Monday to discuss the situation in South Sudan after deadly fighting between rival factions of Vice President Riek Machar’s party.

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At least 32 people were reported dead in the clashes that broke out at the weekend after Machar’s foes in his SPLA-I0 said they had ousted him as party leader and head of its armed forces.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said the virtual meeting would involve foreign ministers of the seven-nation bloc.

“The agenda for this emergency council meeting will be to discuss the current political situation in South Sudan that requires the urgent attention of the council,” IGAD’s secretariat said in a statement.

IGAD brings together Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

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Eritrea suspended its membership in 2007 and has not been readmitted.

The bloc has been a key player in peace talks to end the young country’s five-year civil war between forces loyal to Machar and his old foe President Salva Kiir that cost almost 400,000 lives.

The latest fighting in Machar’s own party threatens to put further pressure on the already fragile peace accord signed by the two men in 2018 and their power-sharing deal.

The world’s youngest nation has struggled with war, famine and chronic political and economic crisis since celebrating its hard-fought independence from Sudan in July 2011.

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