Ethiopia sends 200 peacekeepers to war-torn South Sudan

Ethiopian United Nations peacekeepers patrol the outskirts of the disputed Abyei town that straddles the border between Sudan and South Sudan September 16, 2013. REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu (SOUTH SUDAN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Ethiopian United Nations peacekeepers patrol the outskirts of the disputed Abyei town that straddles the border between Sudan and South Sudan September 16, 2013. REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu (SOUTH SUDAN – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Ethiopia sent 200 peacekeepers over the weekend to South Sudan to help stabilize the war-torn east African nation, an Ethiopian official said on Tuesday. The country’s foreign affairs minister, Meles Alem was quoted saying the peacekeepers were sent in line with a United Nations resolution to stabilize South Sudan.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2327 on Dec. 16, 2016, which called for an increase in the overall force levels of United Nations Mission in South Sudan to 17,000 military and 2,101 police personnel.

The resolution also extended the UNMISS mission until December 2017 and gave stronger a mandate to the peacekeeping forces to protect civilians.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been embroiled in a major conflict since December 2013, after clashes between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and the country’s former deputy president, Riek Machar, spiraled into an all-out civil war.

Several rounds of peace negotiations mediated by the African Union, the regional body Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the UN have so far failed to stop the bloodshed.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million displaced in the country’s worst violence outbreak since its independence.

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