, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – In response to the escalation of violence in South Sudan, Foreign Ministers from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries will hold a meeting in Nairobi on Monday.
They will be joined by members of the TROIKA that manages the Southern Africa Development Community organ on Politics Defense and Security as well as other members of the international community.
In a statement, the IGAD secretariat which, “continues to demand for a total cessation of hostilities and a return to normalcy in South Sudan,” said the meeting had been called to take stock of the deteriorating situation and to decide on the way forward including holding those responsible accountable.
It comes as global leaders expressed alarm at the escalation of violence in the young nation.
On Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta weighed in on the fighting urging that troops and heavy weaponry be removed from civilian spaces.
His spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the President had spoken to President Salva Kiir and urged both him and former rebel leader Riek Machar to act swiftly and restore peace to the capital of Juba.
Kenya played a key role in getting a peace deal between Kiir and Machar’s camps signed and has expressed disappointment at the recent turn of events.
READ: Kenya deeply disappointed by resurgence of violence in S.Sudan
Over 150 deaths have so far been reported in the fighting that began Friday with local media reporting that the death toll could be as high as 270..
The United States has also called for an immediate end to the violence.
The battles are the first between the army and ex-rebels in Juba since rebel leader Machar returned in April to take up the post of first vice president under wartime enemy President Kiir, following the three-year conflict that has killed thousands and sparked a humanitarian crisis.
The US State Department said it was ordering all non-essential personnel out of the country.
Washington pressed both leaders and their political allies and commanders to immediately restrain their forces from further fighting, return them to barracks and prevent additional violence and bloodshed.