The African Union has threatenedandnbsp;targeted sanctions against those inciting the violence in Southandnbsp;Sudan and hampering international efforts to negotiate an end toandnbsp;the two-week outburst of fighting that risks drawing in theandnbsp;wider region.
At a meeting in Gambia in West Africa, the AU said late on Monday it wasandnbsp;dismayed by the bloodletting that has already killed more than aandnbsp;thousand people in the world's youngest country.
"(Council) expresses its intention to take appropriateandnbsp;measures, including targeted sanctions, against all those whoandnbsp;incite violence, including along ethnic lines, continueandnbsp;hostilities (and) undermine the envisaged inclusive dialogue,"andnbsp;the AU's Peace and Security Council said.
On Tuesday South Sudanese troops fought rebelsandnbsp;believed to be loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar in the flashpoint town of Bor.
"We are fighting the rebels now," Mayor of Bor Nhial Majak Nhial told Reuters news agency.
South Sudan's neighbours have given the warring factionsandnbsp;until the end of Tuesday to lay down their arms and beginandnbsp;negotiations - but so far there has been no sign of theandnbsp;hostilities ending.
The violence erupted on December 15 when fighting broke outandnbsp;among a group of soldiers in the capital, Juba, but quicklyandnbsp;spread to more than half the country.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said on Monday eastandnbsp;African nations had agreed to move in and defeat rebel leaderandnbsp;Riek Machar if he rejected a government ceasefire offer.
Thereandnbsp;was no immediate confirmation of the pact from other nations.
Even so, Museveni's words demonstrated the scale of regionalandnbsp;worry over the fighting, often along ethnic lines betweenandnbsp;Machar's Nuer group and President Salva Kiir's Dinka, that hasandnbsp;spread to South Sudan's oil fields, forcing a cut in output.