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Split among rebels in South Sudan threatens negotiations for peace agreement

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A rebel official negotiating with South Sudan's government says there is a split within the rebel ranks.

Puoch Riek told The Associated Press in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa — where South Sudan's warring factions are meeting for the latest round of negotiations — that two generals who were once allies of rebel leader Riek Machar had defected and fled to Sudan.

Puoch Riek, a member of the rebel delegation in Ethiopia, identified the two rebel generals as Gathoth Gatkuoth and Peter Gadet. He said they defected after Machar, South Sudan's former deputy president, fired them from their senior command positions within the rebel movement.

South Sudan's warring factions are under international pressure to reach a comprehensive peace deal by Aug. 17 but several earlier negotiations have failed.

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