Riek Machar: ‘I’m a Hero. I Created a Country,’ Says South Sudan Rebel Leader

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South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar has called himself a “hero” and the man responsible for bringing independence to the country.

Speaking to South African publication, the Daily Maverick, from his home in Ethiopia, South Sudan’s most prominent opposition figure also claimed to have tamed the country’s human rights violations – despite numerous reports of atrocities throughout the South Sudanese civil war.

 

A ‘hero’ of independence

Journalist Simon Alison asked the rebel leader how he would like to be remembered, to which he answered: “I created a country. I created a country,” apparently emphasising the point.

“I’m a hero of the independence,” he said. “It can never be a mistake. We have found ourselves in this despicable situation, but that doesn’t mean that our independence is not cherished. We cherish our independence. We fought for it for many generations.”

 

Giving up would be ‘irresponsible’

Machar’s self-proclaimed hero status comes off the back of numerous reports that cite grave human rights violations, including gang rape, torture and ethnic killings throughout the conflict. Both Machar and South Sudan President Salva Kiir have been accused of prolonging violence in the country and profiteering from the conflict.

When asked whether the suffering of South Sudan’s people would end if his opposition group gave up their fight, the rebel leader claimed it would be irresponsible to do so. “Giving up would be irresponsible,” he said, claiming that “history would not forgive” him for surrendering

“Giving up would be irresponsible,” he said, claiming that “history would not forgive” him for surrendering.

 

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.