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South Sudan: 25,000-strong 'White Army' marches toward state capital; cease-fire hopes dim

5:00 PM, Dec 28, 2013   |    comments
A wounded soldier, background right, sits with colleagues in an outside courtyard at the Juba Military Hospital in Juba, South Sudan Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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JUBA, South Sudan (AP) - Government officials in South Sudan say 25,000 young men who make up a tribal militia known as the "White Army" are marching toward the contested city of Bor.

The news comes as hope fades for a cease-fire among South Sudan's warring parties. Leaders from across East Africa announced yesterday that the government had agreed to a "cessation of hostilities." But the former vice president (Riek Machar) who's accused of leading a coup attempt has rejected the cease-fire.

More fighting is expected. Bor is the provincial capital of Jonglei state. It briefly fell to rebels before government forces took it back this week. The estimated 25,000 youths marching on the city are from the same tribe as the former vice president. They are known as the "White Army" because of the white ash the fighters put on their skin as protection from insects.

Nearly two weeks of violence has killed an estimated 1,000 people in South Sudan. Tens of thousands are seeking shelters at United Nations camps.

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