South Sudan has been beset by a political crisis for the past few months, as President Salva Kiir has tried to cling to power amid a wave of secessionist movements and protests.
More than 90% of the country is in a state of civil war, with government forces fighting rebels in the northeast and government-controlled areas fighting rebels and other rebels in and around the capital, Juba.
A major power struggle has erupted in Juba, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calling for the withdrawal of the international peacekeeping force known as UNDOF (the International Democratic Forces for Peace and Security) to the south.
The United States and South Sudan have refused to agree to withdraw the peacekeeping forces, which are based in the port city of Juba and provide a lifeline to many South Sudanis.
South Sudanese President Salwa Idris said the United States would not withdraw the troops until Kiir abandons his demand for independence from Sudan and relinquishes power.
Kiir has accused Idris of backing “terrorists” and “terror-inspired militias”, which he accuses of launching attacks against civilians.