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The political crisis in South Sudan began more than two weeks ago, after President Salva Kiir accused rebel leader Riek Machar of attempting a coup. Reports say thousands of people have been killed in the violence since then.The fighting between troops loyal to Kiir, who is from the Dinka ethnic group, and opposition leader Machar, a Nuer, erupted around Juba on December 15.The UN representative in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, also condemned "in the strongest possible terms the atrocities committed against innocent civilians of different communities by elements from both sides during the crisis."The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned of a growing risk of disease outbreaks in South Sudan due to the ongoing violence in the country.South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has declared a state of emergency in the states of Unity and Jonglei.South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 after its people overwhelmingly voted in a referendum for a split from the North.