The Republic of South Sudan is undergoing its most devastating round of violence since declaring its independence in July 2011. The fighting broke out in mid-December 2013, some five months after President Salva Kiir fired his vice president, Riek Machar, along with the entire cabinet. At a December 15 meeting of the ruling party, Kiir alleged that Machar had been planning a coup. Machar denied it. Kiir is Dinka and Machar is Nuer, respectively the country’s two largest ethnic communities at 40 and 20 percent of the population. The dispute between the two men quickly took on a decidedly ethnic character as Dinkas in the presidential guard tried to disarm their Nuer colleagues leading to fighting between Dinka and Nuer civilians in the capital city of Juba.