South Sudan Clashes Leave 290 Dead as U.S. Urges Regional Action

(Bloomberg) -- Fighting in an eastern state of South Sudan left almost 290 people dead over the weekend, the local governor said, as the U.S. urged countries in the region to send 4,000 troops to bolster the United Nations peacekeeping force.

Clashes in Jonglei state between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing his former deputy, Riek Machar, claimed the lives of 250 rebels and 38 others, including women and children, Philip Aguer said Tuesday by phone. He accused Machar loyalists of two attacks that led to the violence.

Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang didn’t answer two calls seeking comment, while the Ethiopian mobile-phone numbers of Dickson Gatluak, a deputy spokesman for Machar’s forces, didn’t connect.

Civil war that began in the oil-producing country in December 2013 has left tens of thousands of people dead and forced 2 million others to flee their homes. A peace deal to reinstate Machar as deputy leader in a transitional government was thrown into turmoil in July when he and his forces were driven from the capital after attacks by Kiir’s troops.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaking in Kenya on Monday called on East African nations to boost the UN mission. The Security Council on Aug. 12 approved the deployment of additional troops, which will raise the total number of peacekeepers to about 17,000.