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S’Sudan rebels split, sacking key warlord

south sudan government troopsSOUTH Sudan’s rebels have split from a key commander; a spokesman said yesterday, risking a worsening of a civil war marked by atrocities and failing peace efforts.

Rebel chief Riek Machar, the country’s former vice president, sacked powerful and influential warlord Peter Gadet, who was slapped with United Nations sanctions earlier this month.

Machar has replaced Gadet — who has operated as a notorious militia chief for decades in the northern battleground state of Unity, swapping sides multiple times — with another commander also blacklisted by the UN, Major General James Koang Chuol, according to official orders seen by AFP.

Rebel spokesman Mabior Garang told AFP it was “an ordinary reshuffle” but declined to give details.

But a diplomat monitoring stalled talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa — where at least seven ceasefires have been agreed and then rapidly broken — said it would make striking a lasting deal harder.

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