Riek Machar Flees South Sudan Again
South Sudan’s two-time former vice president has fled the country again after recent violence in the capital, Juba.
Machar only returned to the city in April, after spending two years under exile in Ethiopia. And this time, the former SPLM-IO opposition leader has been found in neighbouring Congo, where he’s reportedly “in the care” of local authorities.
Machar in a “safe country”
On Thursday, The SPLM-IO party announced Machar left South Sudan on Wednesday for “a safe country within the region”, but gave no further details. However, the UN says he is now in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he is being looked after by authorities.
Machar fled Juba in July after violence between troops loyal to him and government forces clashed. It was the first major conflict between the two rival forces since they were reunited under the nation’s fragile peace deal in April.
Sadly, the reunion only lasted three months and now Machar finds himself feeling the country and losing his post as vice president for the second time in three years.
History repeats in South Sudan
At a glance, it appears history is repeating itself in South Sudan with Machar fleeing the country yet again. However, his supporters insist he was forced out by a political plot against him – one that included a “botched attempt to assassinate” Machar, according to his spokesman.
Either way, a key difference this time around is Machar has lost a lot of support from his former allies. Taban Deng Gai replaced Machar as the nation’s vice president on July 26. It was a move voted for by his own SPLM-IO party, in which a faction says Machar is also no longer the leader.
Meanwhile, Machar says he will not return to Juba until the UN secures the city and can guarantee his safety. Yet growing criticisms of the UN’s ineffectiveness of handling the crisis in South Sudan suggest he may have to wait a while.
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