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Clashes between rival South Sudan army factions have left up to 500 dead and around 800 injured.
That’s according to the United Nations based on local hospital information.
The fighting began two days ago following a reported coup attempt against President Salva Kiir.
Soldiers loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar who was sacked last July are said to have tried to take power by force but were defeated.
Up to 20,000 people have taken refuge in the UN mission in the capital Juba because of the fighting.
South Sudan’s Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth told them that peace had been restored and it was safe to return home. However gunfire near the presidential palace on Tuesday convinced no one.
Ten major political figures have been arrested and the former vice president is said to be on the run.
Although South Sudan is plagued by ethnic divisions this is the worst violence since becoming independent from Sudan in 2011.