Rebels return to South Sudanese capital for peace process

South Sudanese rebel representatives return to capital Juba to start implementation of peace

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Taban Deng Gai, chief negotiator of the rebel group, known as SPLA-IO addresses a news conference after arriving in the South Sudan's capital Juba, December 21, 2015.

A group of 15 South Sudanese rebels arrived in capital Juba on Monday, a step towards the implementation of a transitional government of national unity, aimed at ending two years of conflict in the new nation.

The arrival of the team marks the beginning of the implementation of peace, Hassan Ramadan Laku, executive director in the office of Riek Machar, who led the team told reporters at Juba International Airport.

"I want to assure the people of South Sudan that today we start the implementation of the peace agreement," Laku said.

The government is happy with the arrival of the advance team and would expect the remaining members to arrive soon, Paul Akol Kordit, a government spokesman told reporters while receiving the team at the airport.

"Today we were expecting 150 members but we have 15. The reason why the second plane has not arrived is because of technical issues but we shall be in touch for when they will arrive," Kordit said.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million forced from their homes since South Sudan’s war erupted in December 2013.

The peace agreement in August provides for rebel leader Riek Machar to return as the country’s vice president in the three-year transitional period led by President Salva Kiir.

The arrival of the advance team is expected to set in confidence building and pave the way of the arrival of Machar in January.

According to the agreement, the advance team will be incorporated into national institutions across the country.