African mediators said they held "productive" talks on Friday with South Sudan's President "Salva Kiir", trying to prevent an almost week-long conflict plunging the world's newest nation into a civil war along ethnic faultlines.
In a sign of the nervousness among South Sudan's neighbours, Ugandan soldiers flew in to help evacuate their citizens. Two anonymous military sources said they would also help secure the capital, which lies about 75 km from Uganda's border.
The United Nations said on a crowd of Nuer tribesmen breached a U.N compound in Jonglei State north of the capital and it had reports that some locals sheltering there were killed. It also said two Indian peacekeepers died.
Kiir has said he is ready for dialogue , while former vice president "Riek Machar" told French radio he was ready to "negotiate his departure from power" and said the army could force Kiir out unless he quit.
"We had a very productive meeting with his excellency President Salva Kiir and we will continue consultations", Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, who is leading the African delegation including ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti and Somali, and African Union and United Nations representatives. It is the first peace initiative since clashes erupted.
Speaking to France's RFI radio, Machar said that unless Kiir quit office "I think the people will depose him, in particular, influential people in the army".