South Sudan ceasefire between opposing parties now in effect

The country is hoping to see an end to the conflict that has killed at least 50,000 people and left millions displaced.

South Sudan flag. Picture: Reuters

PRETORIA - A ceasefire between South Sudan’s opposing parties came into effect at midnight in the latest bid to end a devastating four-year war.

The deal was signed by government and several armed groups on Thursday during peace negotiations in Addis Ababa.

The country is hoping to see an end to the conflict that has killed at least 50,000 people and left millions displaced.

The ceasefire enjoins all sides to freeze their positions at midnight on Christmas Eve and to cease all activities that could provoke further violence.

It also commits the parties to freeing prisoners of war and releasing abducted women and children.

Previous peace deals between President Salva Kiir’s Dinka tribe and the Nuer of rebel leader Riek Machar, currently exiled in South Africa, have come apart.

If this one holds it could lead to elections in the country that became Africa’s youngest when it split from Sudan six years ago.