South Sudanese rebel leader flees country

Former vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar has fled to a neighbouring country for his safety, according to his spokesman.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

South Sudanese opposition leader Riek Machar.

South Sudanese former vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar has fled the country, after spending weeks hiding from the government forces, his spokesman said on Thursday.  

Mabior Garang, a spokesperson for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition party (SPLM-IO), said in a Facebook post that he had gone to a neighbouring country in the East African region.  

"President Salva Kiir's forces have been hunting him, so for his safety he decided to relocate," Gatdet Dak said, adding that he would have "access to the rest of the world and media" from his new position.  

Following clashes with President Salva Kiir's army in the capital Juba in early July, Machar and his rebel forces left the city.

Government forces loyal to President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and rebels led by Machar, a Nuer, have engaged in a civil war which has left tens of thousands dead and more than two million people displaced since December 2013.

President of South Sudan Salva Kiir [R] and former vice president Riek Machar.

Both sides have been accused of human rights violations during the fighting.

The UN Security Council voted to send 4,000 regional peacekeepers to Juba to calm tensions last week.

But President Kiir opposed the move, saying that deploying without South Sudan's approval would be a violation of the country's sovereignty.


TRTWorld and agencies