South Sudan's military says thousands of armed youth loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar are marching toward the government-held town of Bor, as the international community presses for a cease-fire.
Military spokesman Philip Aguer told VOA Saturday the Machar-backed force - the so called "White Army" - plans to attack the central town, which was retaken by government forces this past week. The youth, like Machar, are ethnic Nuers while President Salva Kiir and his loyalists are ethnic Dinka.
Aguer said military forces in Bor can repel any attack.
The tribal violence erupted earlier this month after the president accused Machar of attempting a coup.
The United Nations says the fighting has left more than 1,000 people dead and displaced thousands of others.
Seeking an end to the nearly two-week crisis, a grouping of East Africa leaders announced Friday that South Sudan had agreed to a "cessation of hostilities" and the start of peace talks. The government also agreed to release eight of 11 political prisoners suspected of plotting the coup.
But Saturday, Machar ally Rebecca Nyandeng told VOA that Machar forces will not agree to cease-fire terms until the government releases all 11 prisoners.
For his part, Machar on Saturday stopped short of accepting the government offer. He told British radio the "mechanisms for monitoring" any agreement must first be established.