South Sudan Urges Neighbours Not To Allow Machar Launch New War
The South Sudanese government has urged Sudan and regional states not to let former first vice president Riek Machar launch a new rebellion, after he threatened to return to war unless demands needed to revive a peace deal were met.
Machar fled Juba in July after a five-day gun-battle between forces loyal to him and those loyal to President Salva Kiir.
Subsequently, Kiir replaced him with Taban Deng Gai as first vice president.
Machar is currently in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where he went to seek medical attention.
Reuters news agency reports that Machar and his allies ordered their forces to reorganize for an “armed resistance” to Kiir’s government after talks in Khartoum involving senior commanders and officials in the SPLM-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO) last week.
“If the peace agreement can be revived then we can go back to Juba, but if not then armed resistance is an option,” Reuters reports Machar’s spokesman to say in Nairobi.
These latest developments threaten to plunge the world’s youngest nation back to war.
The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but descended into civil war in December 2013 after President Kiir accused Machar, his then deputy, of plotting to overthrow his government.
A peace deal was signed in Juba to end the war, paving way for the return of Machar to Juba.
The regional grouping IGAD, which includes Sudan, has told both sides to halt the violence and aims to send a protection force to secure the peace, a move that has U.N. backing.