Kerry calls for end to violence in South Sudan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says peace is the only option for South Sudan as the African nation endures a wave of targeted ethnic violence.

Recent ethnic strife in South Sudan is estimated to have killed hundreds. The U.N. Security Council has expressed "grave alarm" over rapidly deteriorating security crisis.

In a statement Friday night, Kerry says the people of South Sudan have endured far too many years of conflict and sacrificed far too much to allow their young country to plunge back into turmoil.

Kerry says he called South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Thursday night and urged him to protect all citizens and to work toward reconciliation.

The U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan is set visit the region to support efforts aimed at peace.