The bloodshed is South Sudan may be coming to a close. That’s the hope of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who arrived in the war-torn country for mediation talks Thursday. An Kenyan delegation also includes Amb Amina Mohammed, Dalmas Otieno and Amb Bethwel Kiplagat. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia also joined the delegation to South Sudan.
“We call upon the two leaders to end the political violence and have peace talks. We thank Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for showing compassion at our time of need,” said Compatriots of South Sudan for Peace Chairman Makuach Aleu. “It is not the time to engage in destructive political engagement but a moment to look back where the country has come from and build it for the benefit of the posterity of South Sudan.”
War broke out again in the Eastern African nation after a power struggle between president Salva Kirr and former Vice President Riek Machar . Soldiers supporting Macahar attempted a coup to overthrow Kirr. South Sudan is the newest nation, but has had decades of turmoil. South Sudan became an independent nation in 2011 after years of civil war with Sudan. Despite the independence, there has been unease between the two nations. This latest conflict exposes a long-festering tribal war between the Dinka tribe, Kirr’s ethnic group, and the Nuer, Machar’s ethnic group.
Tens of thousands of refugees of all of South Sudan have sought refuge in the UN camps in Bor, where fighting has been rampant. Refugees have also been pouring into neighboring nations of Kenya and Uganda. The hospital has treated hundreds hit by gunfire around the oil-rich cities of Upper Nile and the ironically named state of Unity. More than 1,000 South Sudanese people have lost their lives in just days of fighting. Though there is no reporting of gunfire in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, fighting makes it difficult for aid to get to the city.
African leaders hope to prevent another civil war in the fragile nation. Kenyatta and his delegation hope to turn a fight over power into a sharing of rich natural resources among the South Sudanese people. The world is watching to see if South Sudan can build a tentative peace for this war-weary country.