October 12, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese former First Vice President, Riek Machar, who leads an armed opposition faction, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), has travelled to South Africa for medical treatment, his official spokesperson has confirmed.
- South African President Jacob Zuma meets South Sudan’s First Vice President, Riek Machar in Pretoria on 18 February 2016 (ST Photo)
Before to leave Khartoum this morning, Machar told reporters he is heading to South Africa to for medical treatment, pointing that his personal doctor is there.
Dak confirmed to Sudan Tribune that Machar arrived in South Africa on Wednesday and not on Tuesday as reported on social media and by some media outlets.
“Yes, Dr. Riek Machar has arrived in South Africa today (Wednesday). He will be there to undergo further treatment for a number of days,” James Gatdet Dak, opposition leader’s spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Dak said the opposition’s top leader will do further checkup on his previously swollen leg as well as on his eye which had infection for the past four years and had been going to South Africa in the past for routine checkups.
He dismissed an allegation that Machar will be seeking political asylum in South Africa, saying this was a false rumour.
“No, this is a false rumour. He has never asked for an asylum anywhere in the world and there is no reason for him to do so. He will be back to South Sudan as the chairman of the political party or Movement, the SPLM (IO), and the commander-in-chief of the co-national army, the SPLA (IO), in the country,” he said.
Earlier, there was an allegation that Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, was in contact with the South African President, Jacob Zuma, about the matter and that South Africa had agreed to grant Machar an asylum in the country in order to stay away from South Sudanese politics.
But Dak said that was not true, adding that even the South African president was in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday and made it clear that he wanted Machar back to Juba in accordance with the signed peace agreement in August last year.
Dak also claimed that Machar remains the legitimate First Vice President of South Sudan and whatever “illegal” actions that were “decreed” by President Kiir to replace “Machar in the aftermath of the 8 July attempted assassination on his life by President Kiir’s forces should be deemed null and void.”
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations (UN), he said, made it clear in their resolutions in August this year that Machar should resume his position after deployment of regional forces and demilitarization of Juba, in addition to other security arrangements.
He said the peace agreement has collapsed as well as the transitional government of national unity without the participation of the peace partner, Machar, his party and army.
He warned that failure to revive the peace deal and the continuation of the military offensive on their troops by forces loyal to President Kiir, the opposition faction has the right to self-defence in form of an armed resistance.
The opposition leader’s spokesman added that it was unfortunate the region was watching the peace deal being dismantled by President Kiir and said nothing or did nothing to stop him.