South Sudan’s Machar Hiding In DR Congo Forests

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar sits in the bush in a rebel-controlled territory in Jonglei State January 31, 2014.

South Sudan’s Machar Hiding In DR Congo Forests

South Sudan’s rebel leader and former first vice president Riek Machar has fled to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations says.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said Thursday that Congolese authorities had asked the world body’s mission in DRC (MONUSCO) to facilitate the transfer of Machar and his family from a location near the border with South Sudan to a safe place.

He said the UN mission had “no involvement” in Machar’s departure from South Sudan.

“He has been handed over to the DRC authorities,” the UN official said, adding that the transfer was done for “humanitarian reasons” and “with his consent.”

Haq further said Machar was in danger and was provided with whatever medical assistance he needed.

The spokesman declined to provide further details about his location in the county, but an unnamed source told AFP that Machar could be in the capital, Kinshasa.

The source said Machar wanted “to go as soon as possible to Ethiopia.”

Earlier on Thursday, a South Sudanese opposition spokesman had said Machar went to a “safe country within the region” and was expected to hold a news conference on Friday.

Machar’s spokesman James Gatdet Dak said in a separate statement that rebel forces had managed to foil what he called a “ruthless attempt” by President Salva Kiir to kill Machar.

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