JUBA, South Sudan, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- South Sudan President Salva Kiir Thursday met with leaders from Ethiopia and Kenya to discuss growing ethnic violence in his country, officials said.
Kiir met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Juba behind closed doors to discuss the violence, which erupted Dec. 15, the Sudan Tribune reported.
Kiir, who is an ethnic Dinka, accuses former Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of orchestrating a coup against his presidency. Machar denied trying to seize power and said the violence was simply a misunderstanding among presidential guards.
Officials fear thousands of South Sudanese have died in the escalating violence, which could lead to civil war, the Tribune said.
Machar has agreed to talk with Kiir if he releases detainees, the BBC reported. Kiir called for unconditional talks.
Kiir has been accused of dictatorial tendencies by senior leaders of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement, the BBC said.