S. Sudan Rebel Leader Riek Machar Finally Lands in Juba Top story

1693 Views Juba, South Sudan

In short
This is Machars first entry into Juba since the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013. He is due to take oath as the first Vice President of South Sudan, in line with terms of an agreement for the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity, signed in august last year, between the Salva Kiir-led government and rebel forces.

Dr Riek Machar, the chairman of the Sudan People Liberation Movement-In Opposition-SPLM-IO has arrived in the South Sudan capital, Juba after several cancellations.

He landed at Juba International Airport at 3;45pm after a 2 hour flight from Gambella, Ethiopia. Donning an African patterned shirt, Machar, who traveled aboard a United Nations flight, was met at the airport by members of the the reception committee, and accompanied by his wife and officials of his party. 

Also at the airport was information minister Michael Makuei, the SPLM-IO Advance Team, members of the diplomatic corps, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Presidential Guard Commander Marial Chanuong and the Inspector-General of Police.  

This is Machar's first entry into Juba since the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013. He is due to take oath as the first Vice President of South Sudan, in line with terms of an agreement for the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity, signed in august last year, between the Salva Kiir-led government and rebel forces.

Machar who was expected to return last week was delayed by disagreements on the number of soldiers and types of weapons that his forces could carry to Juba.

Yesterday, General Simon Gatwech Dual, the SPLA-IO Chief of Staff landed in Juba along with 195 military personnel and 20 PKMs and 20 RPGs. The weapons were agreed upon by the government and opposition in a plan endorsed last week.

Machar's return to Juba has been encouraged by the guarantors of the August 2015 peace deal, which include Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and several Western countries. His return today marks a return to the city where the civil war began in December 2013, initially as a fight between Dinka and Nuer soldiers of the presidential guards in a barracks in Juba.

Tens of thousands have been killed and more than 2 million displaced since the outybreak of the war.

Machar has spent the last two years moving mostly between his headquarters Pagak, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Arusha where negotiations took place, and in other foreign capitals where he traveled in search of arms in support for his rebellion.

Following the arrival, President Salva Kiir is expected to form a 'transitional government of national unity' that will include his own loyalists as well as members of Machar's SPLM-IO, the SPLM Former Detainees, and other political parties.

Kiir's current vice president James Wani will remain in his position while Machar will take the title 'First Vice President', the more senior of Kiir's two deputies. It is not yet clear, however, when exactly President Kiir will announce his new cabinet.

 

About the author

Sylvia Nankya
Sylvia is an Editor and Media Trainer with Uganda Radio Network. She has been a URN staff member since 2013. Sylvia has previously worked as a reporter and news anchor with Radio One (2001-2009) and with Vision Group (2009-2011). Six of her active years in Journalism were spent covering the Parliament of Uganda.

Over the past few years, Sylvia has worked to promote the positive development of societies recovering from conflict through training journalists on choices of stories, how they report issues and use of appropriate language in covering conflict and post-conflict situations.

She is an Alumni of RNTC- Holland, Les Aspin Centre for Government at Marquette University-WI, USA and a Community Solutions Fellow.