The conflict in South Sudan flared up again on the fifth anniversary of independence. After almost two years of war between forces controlled by President Kiir and those of Vice-President Machar, the latter had only recently – in April 2016 – returned to the capital Juba with his ministers and some of his troops to form a Transitional Government of National Unity, together with Kiir’s cabinet. But both sides obstructed implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement, and repeated breaches of the cease-fire were reported in other parts of the country. On 7 July shooting broke out between the opposing forces in Juba. More than three hundred people died in the following days. In the meantime, Machar and his forces have left Juba and his chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai was installed as his replacement by President Kiir, splitting the leadership of the SPLM in Opposition. The question now is the fate of the peace agreement and the legitimacy of the two leaders. The United Nations has more than 13,000 troops on the ground, and the African Union is preparing an intervention mission to enforce peace.

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