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South Sudan Factions Sign Cease-fire



South Sudan's warring factions have signed a cease-fire agreement, a move that is expected to end weeks of deadly fighting between the government and rebel forces.

Representatives for President Salva Kiir and his opponents signed the plan Thursday in Ethiopia's capital, where they have been meeting with mediators from East African regional bloc known as IGAD.

The group has spent three weeks mediating talks in Addis Ababa. Earlier, the negotiations bogged down over the government's refusal to release 11 political detainees.



Earlier this week, a U.N. human rights official said "thousands" of people had been killed since the South Sudan conflict broke out in mid-December.

South Sudan's crisis was touched off by a December gun battle at army headquarters in the capital, Juba. President Kiir accused former vice president Riek Machar of attempting a coup, a charge Machar denied.

The United Nation's humanitarian office says over the past six weeks, violence in South Sudan has left more than 500,000 people displaced, including more over 100,000 who have fled to neighboring countries.

A Thursday statement says U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is set to begin a three-day trip to South Sudan on Monday. The U.N. says she will meet with government representatives and humanitarian groups in an effort to draw attention to the "humanitarian consequences" of the country's unrest.

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