Different Sources, APR/19/2016, SSN;
South Sudan’s government says that SPLM-IO Chairman Riek Machar did not respect his commitment to arrive in Juba this week as planned.
The Juba-based government said that it made all necessary preparations for the reception of Machar in Juba this week, according to a press statement by the Ministry of Information.
The statement accuses Machar of trying to bring with him to Juba “an arsenal of arms, inter alia, anti-tanks, laser-guided missiles an heavy machine guns.”
“The protection force of the 1st vice president designate of 350 is already on the ground with all their armaments. He does not need any additional armed forces or arms in Juba,” reads the statement.
For their part, the SPLM-IO have blamed logistical problems for the delay of Machar’s arrival.
According to a statement issued by his office yesterday, Dr Machar couldn’t move from Pagak, eastern Upper Nile State, because of “incomplete logistics”.
“The chairman and commander- in-chief of the SPLM/A in opposition Dr Machar will not travel to Juba today as planned due to incomplete logistical arrangement,” the statement reads in part. Dr Machar was supposed to be sworn in as the first vice president, a key part of the peace process that seeks to end a two-years civil war.
BBC AFRICA, APR/18/2016;
The expected return of South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar to the capital, Juba, has been delayed for a second time because of rain.
He had been due on Monday morning, to take up the post of first vice-president, a key part of the peace process aimed at ending more than two years of civil war.
His spokesman said he was initially delayed because of logistical reasons.
Head of the rebel negotiating team Taban Deng told the BBC the initial delay was because a second plane was needed for Mr Machar’s army chief, who had been due to travel on Sunday.
TheEastAfrican: APR/18/2016: South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar’s highly-anticipated return to the capital Juba, to take up the role of vice president, was delayed on Monday, his spokesman said, citing “logistical reasons”.
“We are committed to the peace agreement, but there have been logistical issues and the first vice president, Riek Machar, will come tomorrow,” spokesman William Ezekiel said.
Machar’s return to Juba and swearing-in as President Salva Kiir’s deputy will mark an important step in a floundering August 2015 deal to end the country’s civil war.
The agreement is seen as the best hope yet for ending more than two years of fighting that have left the world’s youngest nation in chaos and pushed it to the brink of famine.
By WALTER MENYA, DailyNation, Kenya, SUNDAY, APR/17/2016;
*The return of South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar to Juba is anxiously anticipated even as uncertainty remains less than 24 hours to the significant step in the August 2015 peace deal to end the civil war.
**Despite Machar indicating he would be in Juba on Monday, sources at the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, told the Nation that there were outstanding issues that could delay his arrival.
***At least 1,370 soldiers and key political leaders allied to Machar’s SPLM-In-Opposition have arrived in Juba as part of the August 2015 peace deal ahead of his return to take up his vice president position in the transitional government.
****This is expected to ease tension and end the conflict that has taken an ethnic slant – largely involving Kiir’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer communities – and triggered a humanitarian crisis in the country that gained independence from Sudan in 2011. More than 700,000 people are thought to have been displaced, with at least 50,000 arriving at Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Despite Machar indicating he would be in Juba on Monday, sources at the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, told the Nation that there were outstanding issues that could delay his arrival.
The official at the commission, which is chaired by the former president of Botswana President Festus Mogae, said the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement government of President Salva Kiir (right) “has not made all the arrangements Machar wants before his return”.
At least 1,370 soldiers and key political leaders allied to Machar’s SPLM-In-Opposition have arrived in Juba as part of the August 2015 peace deal ahead of his return to take up his vice president position in the transitional government.
This is expected to ease tension and end the conflict that has taken an ethnic slant – largely involving Kiir’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer communities – and triggered a humanitarian crisis in the country that gained independence from Sudan in 2011.
More than 700,000 people are thought to have been displaced, with at least 50,000 arriving at Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Machar’s deputy Alfred Ladu Gore arrived in Juba on Tuesday, but the Nation has learnt that top of the issues Machar’s side wants addressed before his return are his security and swearing-in date.
The rebels have apparently indicated that they want Machar to assume office immediately he arrives in Juba before holding talks with President Kiir on the formation of the transitional government.
Thereafter, the two leaders would visit the mausoleum of John Garang, who is acknowledged as the father of the nation, as a sign of unity.
However, the government appears to have its own plans, a stand confirmed by South Sudan Charge d’Affaires in Nairobi James Morgan.
“He will not be sworn-in immediately but after the final touches to the agreement are verified. The President will not meet him on Monday, but they will of course meet after the two parties and other stakeholders decide and deem it necessary to do so,” he said by phone.
“When we went to Khartoum in 2005 with John Garang, he was not sworn in immediately.”
The Machar camp has also been apprehensive about security. The initial plan was that Machar would fly directly from Nairobi, where he and some of his allies have been based, to Juba.
However, he inexplicably flew to Ethiopia before travelling to the South Sudanese town of Pagak, a rebel stronghold, earlier in the week.
The fluid situation has been heightened by fears that top SPLM generals were reluctant to work with Machar – and could be plotting to arrest him.
The situation was not helped by the arrest on Tuesday of 16 people, part of the rebels’ advance team, who were gathering in Juba to wait Mr Gore’s arrival.
Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said they were arrested “for moving around without coordinating with security personnel”.
Even though they were released, Amnesty International on Friday called on the government to end arbitrary detentions.
Amnesty said it had compiled a list of 35 men detained in the Jebel neighbourhood of Juba for months.
Morgan was cagey about whether President Kiir’s government would send a team to receive Machar.
“You know Machar’s men have been in Juba since end of last year. You also know Machar’s people inside the UN Mission in South Sudan will be there to meet him. Besides, the government has set up a reception committee,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Foreign ministry has urged the protagonists in South Sudan to respect the peace deal.
“Each has an obligation to abide and implement the agreement,” PS Monica Juma said.
The agreement was signed in August 2015 after a threat of sanctions from the UN.
Besides the formation of the transitional government, the agreement also called for fighting to stop immediately though there have been sporadic attacks.