South Sudan Rebel Chief Set For Return To Juba | Independent Newspapers Limited
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South Sudan Rebel Chief Set For Return To Juba

Posted: Apr 26, 2016 at 11:50 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

After a weeklong delay, South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar is finally expected back in Juba on Tuesday to join a unity government being formed to end more than two years of civil war.

A rebel statement said Machar, who is to be sworn in as first vice-president alongside his longtime arch rival, President Salva Kiir, “will be arriving today in Juba April 26, 2016.

He was expected to land at about 2 pm (1100 GMT), depending on the weather and flight operations, said spokesman William Ezekiel.

Machar, who was originally due back in the city on April 18 under a peace deal, is expected to head immediately from the airport to the presidential palace to be sworn in.

His delayed arrival infuriated the international community after the months of negotiations spent on getting the rivals to return to the same city and share power in the world’s newest country.

Ensuring they work together in a unity government, and that the thousands of rival armed forces now in separate camps inside the capital keep their guns quiet, will be an even bigger challenge.

Top rebel military commander Simon Gatwech Dual returned this Monday, in a key step forward in the floundering peace process.

“We are one South Sudan,” Dual shouted, waving a walking stick in the air as he marched off the plane.

He was welcomed by top government army commanders, surrounded by heavily armed troops from both the government and rebels.