South Sudan government, rebels sign ceasefire
ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - South Sudan's government and rebels on Thursday signed a ceasefire agreement, pledging to halt fighting within 24 hours and end five weeks of bitter conflict that has left thousands dead.
The agreement was signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa by representatives of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and rebel delegates loyal to ousted vice president Riek Machar, and was greeted by cheers from regional mediators and diplomats.
Mediators from the East African regional bloc IGAD, which has been brokering the peace talks, said the deal will put in place a verification and monitoring mechanism for the truce.
South Sudan's government also agreed to release 11 officials close to Machar who were detained after fighting between rival army units broke out on December 15, although no timeline for their release was given. The status of the detainees had been a major sticking point in the talks.