JUBA APRIL 26, 2016 (CISA) – South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar has arrived in the capital, Juba, after a week-long delay.
Machar is expected to take up his post as first vice-president in a new unity government, a move that is seen as a key part of the peace deal aimed at ending the more than two-year-long conflict that has killed tens of thousands and left two million people homeless according to the UN.
Machar’s return was originally scheduled for early last week but the former vice president had instead asked for more forces and heavy weaponry to precede his arrival.
General Simon Gatwech Dual, Machar’s chief of staff, flew into in Juba on April 26, accompanied by the 195 soldiers and the weapons the rebel leader had asked for.
But he did not say when Machar would follow. President Salva Kiir’s sacking of Machar as his deputy in 2013 just two years after South Sudan’s secession from Sudan, triggered fighting between their supporters that spread across the country, often along ethnic lines between Kiir’s dominant Dinka ethnic group and Machar’s Nuer.
They signed the peace deal under pressure from the International community including the United States and the UN, which threatened sanctions.