South Sudan's neighbours were Thursday preparing for a massive influx of refugees who had fled fighting between the army and troops loyal to former rebel leader Riek Machar that displaced more than 40,000 people.

More than 1,460 people have already crossed the South Sudanese border into Uganda, said Charles Yaxley, spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Kampala.

South Sudan had slightly eased checks on cross-border traffic after blocking it earlier on, according to Yaxley.

"We hear there is a vast amount of people on the South Sudanese side of the border. So we are preparing for a significant influx of people," he said.

Ugandan police spokeswoman Polly Namaye said Ugandan troops had been sent to clear corridors "for the safe passage of convoys" and that medical teams would attend to refugees with gun wounds.

Duke Mwancha, a spokesman for the UNHCR in Kenya, said the organization was also preparing for an influx at the Kenyan border and had deployed teams to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile in South Sudan's capital Juba, Jeremiah Young from the aid organization World Vision said it had fed thousands of people without being able to attend to all those in need.

The UN has estimated that 42,000 people fled the fighting that broke out in Juba last week between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to Machar, who was sworn in as vice president in April.

The presidency had on Sunday put the death toll at about 270 since Friday. But UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the figure was probably "only the tip of the iceberg."

Fighting was also reported in other parts of the country.

Kiir and Machar declared a ceasefire earlier this week, leading fighting in Juba to subside, with some markets reopening and life returning to the streets, Young said.

The fresh outbreak of violence dealt a blow to hopes of peace after Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement in August 2015 and formed a national unity government in April.

A power struggle between the two escalated into an armed conflict in December 2013, killing tens of thousands and displacing more than 2 million people.

Kiir meanwhile rejected the deployment of more UN peacekeepers in the country, which the UN Security Council has said it would be willing to do.

"There are over 12,000 foreign troops in South Sudan. What do you need foreign forces for?" Kiir told journalists.

A Machar spokesman denied reports that rebel troops had left Juba, saying they had only retreated from the Jebel neighbourhood where the vice president has his residence and where most of the recent fighting took place.

Machar's troops are "still in town, but not exactly at the residence," Colonel William Gatjiath said.

Gatjiath criticized Kiir's promise of granting an amnesty to rebels who had taken part in the fighting, dismissing it as a ploy to make Machar reappear so that he could be killed.

Political scientist Michael Thon, member of a civil society task force monitoring the implementation of the peace agreement, said there was "serious division" among the rebels.

Machar was not in control of all his commanders, some of whom did not trust Kiir and wanted to topple him, Thon said.

The division among the rebels could further destabilize South Sudan, the analyst said, adding that the country "is not safe."

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.