July 21, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has given his deputy and armed opposition leader, Riek Machar 48 hours to return to the capital, Juba or be sacked.
- President Salva Kiir greets First Vice President Riek Machar before to start a meeting at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba on 3 June 2016 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
The ultimatum was read in a statement read to reporters by presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny on Thursday as armed opposition leaders in Juba nominated former chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai as their interim leader.
“Dr. Riek Machar is given 48 hours from today [Thursday] to report to work in Juba,” said Ateny, without stating any implication of Machar’s failure to honour the deadline.
Machar, according to his spokesman, relocated to the outskirt of Juba last week after his base was overran by President Kiir’s forces following four days of intensive fighting in Juba. He has called for a third force to be deployed in Juba to provide him protection.
Meanwhile, the armed opposition leaders in Juba have nominated Gai to act in the absence of Machar. The opposition’s deputy chairman, General Alfred Lado Gore, who is a member of the opposition’s National Liberation Council witnessed the occasion in Juba.
There are widespread speculations that the armed opposition might replace its chairman Machar with Gai, though this move will be deemed illegal under the terms of the peace agreement that led to the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) formation.