A South Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) patrol in Malakal on January 21, 2014 following fightings between rebels and government forces. (AFP PHOTO / CHARLES LOMODONG)
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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. 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.After initial clashes broke out in the capital Juba more than a month ago, the conflict rapidly escalated into all-out war between the regular army, who have been backed by Ugandan troops, and breakaway army units and other militia.
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