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South Sudan rebel leader dashes ceasefire hopes
Riek Machar, whose insurgents have taken control of the country's biggest oil fields, has suggested a ceasefire proposed by president Salva Kiir would not be credible
Mr Kiir has freed two of these detainees - and mediators say that "most" are expected to be let out. But Mr Machar insisted that all must be released before any talks can begin.
The question is whether Mr Kiir will accept this condition. Alternatively, he could choose to launch an offensive to recapture the territory seized by his rival. All of the diplomatic efforts are designed to put in place a ceasefire followed by negotiations.
But a glance at Sir Simon's three-day itinerary showed that he met President Kiir, but not Mr Machar or any rebel representatives.
Mr Machar has not disclosed his own location, saying only that he is "in the bush" in South Sudan. His allies, meanwhile, are either in prison in Juba, or directing military operations.
However, Mr Machar disclosed that he spoke by satellite telephone to John Kerry, the US secretary of state, twice last Thursday. He also spoke to Susan Rice, the National Security Adviser.
Mr Machar, who graduated in mechanical engineering from Bradford Polytechnic in 1984, accused the president of "plunging" South Sudan into an "unnecessary conflict". He added: "We want South Sudan to be a democratic nation with free people, elections which are free and fair, multi-partyism where power transfers through the ballot box."
Both sides also deny that the war is becoming a tribal conflict between Nuers and Dinkas. In Juba, however, around 10,000 Nuers have sought sanctuary in a section of a UN compound next to the airport. They say they were targeted for attack by Dinka soldiers.
Conditions in the camp by Juba airport are dire. The smell of faeces hangs in the air and the ground is soggy with urine, creating a significant risk of a cholera epidemic.
The UN wants donors to provide £100 million for fresh humanitarian aid but many international aid workers were evacuated last week on a series of emergency flights organised by foreign embassies.
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Congo-Kinshasa: UN Peacekeepers Respond to Ugandan Rebel Attack in Eastern DR Congo
In the early hours of Wednesday, the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-Nalu) attacked positions of the DRC national armed forces (FARDC) in the town of Kamango.
The rebels captured the location after brief clashes, resulting in the killing of innocent people and massive displacement of civilian populations towards the Ugandan border, according to the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO).