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US scrambles to avert 'all-out civil war' in South Sudan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is calling for an immediate ceasefire in South Sudan.

Violence in the world's youngest nation has killed more than 1,000 people and driven 180,000 from their homes in the last month. The conflict has seen neighbors killing each other purely on tribal identification, threatening a nation that until recently was viewed by Democrats and Republicans alike as an American diplomatic success story in Africa.

The crisis began nearly a month ago, when South Sudan's president, who is an ethnic Dinka, accused a former vice president, who is an ethnic Nuer, of trying to overthrow the government. The former vice president (Riek Machar) denies the accusation, and accuses the government of rooting out political opponents.

In a statement Thursday night, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, says the U.S. wants both sides to sign a cease-fire immediately, but singles out the former vice president. Rice says his insistence that detainees be released as a precondition of a truce is "unacceptable." At the same time, she calls on South Sudan's president (Salva Kiir) to release the detainees without delay.

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157-w-35-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary of state for african affairs)--Lawmakers are told the situation in South Sudan is continuing to deteriorate. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (9 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *157 (01/09/14)££ 00:35

158-a-13-(Chuol Rambang Luoth (CHOO'-ohl RAHM'-bahn loo-AH'), chairperson, South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission, at news conference)-"cease armed combat"-Chuol Rambang Luoth, who heads South Sudan's Peace and Reconciliaton Commission, called for an unconditional ceasefire between warring factions in the world's newest nation. (9 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *158 (01/09/14)££ 00:13 "cease armed combat"

159-a-17-(David Okwier (oh-KWY-ay), chairperson, Special Parliamentary Committee on Peace and Reconciliation, at news conference)-"apart from us"-David Okwier, who heads the South Sudan Parliament's committee on peace and reconciliation, says the new country must quickly resolve its own problems. ((note cut length)) (9 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *159 (01/09/14)££ 00:17 "apart from us"

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