South Sudan Opposition Call for Civil War Condemned by U.S., EU

Members of the international community including the U.S. and European Union condemned calls by South Sudanese opposition leaders for the renewal of a civil war that’s claimed tens of thousands of lives in the oil-producing nation.

“Further fighting will not solve South Sudan’s pressing political and economic challenges,” according to a statement also endorsed by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, a regional bloc, Norway and the U.K. “It will only increase the suffering of South Sudan’s people, worsen a grave humanitarian crisis and further inflame ethnic tensions.”

Former Vice President Riek Machar, who’s in neighboring Sudan after being forced from South Sudan’s capital in July, said last month his country’s people “should brace for long-term popular armed resistance.”

Machar, who was the nation’s deputy leader on independence in 2011, led rebels in the conflict that began in December 2013. He returned to that country’s capital, Juba, in April to become President Salva Kiir’s deputy under a peace agreement, only to flee in July amid fighting between rival factions that claimed at least 270 lives.

There’s been further “heavy fighting,” including near the towns of Yei, Wau, Bentiu and Nassir, in recent weeks, and reports of widespread violence against civilians, according to the statement.

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