(FILES) -- A file picture taken on March 11, 2014 shows former SPLM (Sudan People's Liberation Movement) leaders sitting during a trial in which they are accused of 11 charges including treason, in Juba, South Sudan. AFP PHOTO / ANDREI PUNGOVSCHI
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South Sudan on Friday released four top leaders accused of rebellion and treason, dropping charges for attempting to overthrow the government in a move aimed at ending a four-month-old civil war.The fighting rapidly escalated into all-out war between troops loyal to Kiir and defectors and ethnic militia loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar.Machar denied the allegation, and in turn has branded Kiir a "genocidal leader" who started the war by carrying out a purge.However, charges were also dropped against seven leaders who were arrested shortly after fighting broke out but released in January into the care of neighbouring Kenya.Violence has also taken on an ethnic dimension, pitting Kiir's Dinka tribe against militia forces from Machar's Nuer people.
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