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