South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has canceled Independence Day celebrations for the third year in a row as its devastating civil war grinds on.
Monday marks seven years since the country gained independence from Sudan, but five years of fighting have killed tens of thousands and shattered the economy.
Government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told The Associated Press that “South Sudan will celebrate when peace comes back to the country.” The day remains a national holiday.
Fragile peace talks continue between President Salva Kiir and former deputy-turned-rebel leader Riek Machar. Their latest attempt at a permanent cease-fire on June 30 was violated within hours.
Some South Sudanese say they’re disappointed at the cancellation of Independence Day celebrations, which have been a bright spot in the middle of the conflict.
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