South Sudan clashes: USA says violence "must stop"

1 2016 shows children resting as people wait to be registered as displaced persons in a South Sudan Redcross compound

In a rare move, Ban called for an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan and targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders blocking implementation of the peace deal.

A Chinese U.N. peacekeeper was killed and several Chinese and Rwandan peacekeepers were injured, Japan's U.N. ambassador Koro Bessho said on Sunday after the U.N. Security Council was briefed on the situation.

Aside from the scores of soldiers killed after gunfire erupted late Friday outside the presidential compound, at least one civilian died in a United Nations camp caught in the crossfire.

South Sudan descended into a brutal civil war in December 2013 when forces loyal to Machar and Kiir clashed in fighting that quickly spread throughout the country. The latest exchanges were apparently sparked by a shootout between President Kiir's and Vice President Machar's bodyguards.

"It rings through the whole city every time they fire", said an aid worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

The conflict killed thousands of people, forced more than 2.5 million people from their homes and left nearly half the population of 11 million people struggling to find food.

The renewed fighting erupted on Thursday night, and again on Friday outside the presidential compound as Machar and Kiir were meeting.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir ordered a unilateral ceasefire Monday.

The conflict is split along ethnic lines, as well as political rivalries: Kiir is a Dinka, and Machar is a Nuer. Fighting has continued in some parts of the country.

Some global organizations and businesses have started evacuating workers from South Sudan, a further blow to its severely weakened economy.

The fighting in Juba severely threatened a peace deal signed past year between Kiir and Machar that brought them and their supporters into a transitional coalition government in April.

According to a statement, the IGAD council of ministers meeting in Nairobi also wants an immediate return of all armed forces and weapons to their barracks, re-opening of the Juba worldwide Airport to be protected by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and opening of humanitarian corridors.

The conflict has been exacerbated by ethnic rivalries.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch also condemned the violence in South Sudan, calling on the Security Council to impose an arms embargo to end hostilities.

Chinese soldiers arrive at Juba airport in South Sudan, on April 8, 2015.

Hundreds of civilians have fled their homes in Juba, seeking protection in United Nations premises.

Government officials have repeatedly accused the civilians inside the United Nations bases of being rebels or rebel supporters.

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