Kenya will rejoin the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) following talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and UN Secretary General António Guterres, news agency Capital News reported. The meeting was held on Sunday (29 January) on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
An official statement by the State House also said Kenya would join peacekeeping forces in Sudan's region of Darfur.
Kenya pulled out its troops in November 2016 in retaliation to the sacking of UNMISS chief, Kenyan Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki. The chief was dismissed following a UN probe into allegations of inaction to protect civilians in July 2016, when some 300 people were killed in South Sudan's capital Juba.
Meanwhile, the AU, the UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) have renewed their calls for a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict.
South Sudan descended into war in 2013 – just two years after gaining independence from Sudan – when President Salva Kiir, of the Dinka ethnic group, fired his deputy and rebel leader RiekMachar from his cabinet.
Ethnic-related violence targeting Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups then spread. An estimated 50,000 people have been killed, amid allegations of crimes against humanity committed by both sides, including rape, torture and the use of child soldiers. Millions are displaced and are facing severe food shortages due to a man-made famine.
IBTimes UK's exclusive interview with Machar:
On Monday (30 January), UNMISS warned fighting was ongoing in Malakal town, where it said the situation remained "tense".
"The Mission continues to patrol regularly in Malakal and reports that the town is largely deserted," said a statement. "The Mission reiterates its call on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and fully implement the peace agreement."
Kiir and Machar have agreed on several peace deals – the last of which was signed in August 2015 – but have failed to control their troops, who have broken every ceasefire since 2014.
Machar, who leads the opposing faction Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), fled South Sudan following deadly fighting in Juba in July. He is currently in South Africa, where he said he is seeking medical treatment, but in an exclusive talk with IBTimes UK said he was ready "to go home".