Briefly: Africa

SOUTH SUDAN

Rebel group declares cease-fire

KHARTOUM — A South Sudan rebel group led by renegade Gen. Peter Gadet has agreed to an unconditional cease-fire and is committed to talks on merging its troops with the army, its spokesman said Wednesday.

“We are declaring a cease-fire, and we are also accepting the amnesty offered by the president as the basis of talks with the government of South Sudan,” Bol Gatkouth told Agence France-Presse, speaking on behalf of the heavily armed militia group.

“The decision came after pressure from our international friends, and the call of the South Sudanese people that the government is serious about reconciliation,” Mr. Gatkouth added, speaking by phone from Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

He said the rebel group, which is based in South Sudan’s oil-producing Unity state, numbers “roughly 10,000 men” and that the delegation he was heading had just arrived from Nairobi, where it met South Sudanese officials.

The fledgling country declared independence from the north July 9, but it faces a host of daunting challenges, among the greatest of which is the threat posed by the numerous militias within its borders.

Clashes between the army and the rebels in states across the country have left hundreds dead this year.

SOMALIA

Militia bleeds guns across Kenya border

DHOBLEY — Somalis with new uniforms and guns, reportedly purchased by Kenya’s government, are supposed to be guarding the Kenya-Somalia border against Islamist insurgents.

But some are selling their weapons and are even preying on Somalis fleeing their famine-stricken country.

This new breed of gunman and the proliferation of weapons is making the trek from Somalia’s parched landscape even more dangerous for thousands of defenseless refugees.

They endure days- and weeks-long walks to refugee camps and their promise of food, but many starve along the way.

Some parents arrive carrying children so malnourished they look like tiny aliens, swollen heads lolling on stick-thin necks. Others arrive with empty arms, having left dead sons and daughters on the road behind them.

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