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Ethiopia denies threatening to deport Machar to S. Sudan

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South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar speaks during a briefing in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa April 9, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Tiksa Negeri)
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

November 23, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopian authorities on Wednesday denied they had threatened to deport armed opposition leader Riek Machar to South Sudan if he refused returning to South Africa.

Further, Ethiopian officials dismissed reports alleging that the rebel leader was heading to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO)’s headquarters in Pagak, near the Ethiopian border.

Last Monday, authorities in Ethiopia forced former Vice President and leader of SPLM-IO, Riek Machar, fly back to South Africa.

He was denied stay in Ethiopia for not having permission to stay in Addis Ababa.

The Department of Immigration and Nationality Affairs of Ethiopia said Marcher flew to Khartoum, after entering into Addis Ababa, but return back to Addis Ababa after brief stay in the Sudan’s capital.

“However, since he has no permission to stay in Addis Ababa and based on immigration law, he was forced to return back to South Africa, a country where he initially departed from” the Department told state affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate.

The department said Machar did not fulfil immigration requirements to stay in Ethiopia.

Sources said Machar was in Addis Ababa in transit flight to Sudan. But opposition officials said Machar arrived in Ethiopia in order to use the country in crossing back to his head quarter in Pagak.

Machar stayed for few hours at the airport before been forced to fly back to South Africa.

“He was deported due to lack of coordination and proper arrangements between our office of protocol and public relations and the Ethiopian government,” said Col. Nyarji Roman Deputy spokesperson in the Office of the SPLM-IO Chairman told Sudan Tribune.

“It’s not true that the Chairman was denied entry to republic of Sudan and it’s not true that he intended to go to Sudan”

The opposition official further said the latest incident has no links with any political crisis between the armed opposition movement and the government of Ethiopia.

“We don’t think that the incident been politically motivated,” he added.

Ethiopian officials told Sudan Tribune that they didn’t warn Machar either to board back to South Africa or risk deportation to Juba.

During his recent visit to South Sudan, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, said he will not allow Machar in Ethiopian territory further ordering South Sudanese rebels within its borders to leave the Horn of Africa’s nation.

Desalegn said that the country would only cooperate with the unity government in Juba and will not support any peace derailing forces to launch attacks using its territory.

“We will not support an armed struggling group or anyone who opts for path of war and therefore we will not allow any armed movement which is detracting from peace in our region both in Ethiopia and South Sudan,” he said.

The SPLM-IO leadership council issued a statement signed by Riek Machar on 25 September calling to wage a popular armed resistance against the government in Juba accusing it of breaching August 2015 peace agreement.

WAR UNAVOIDABLE WITHOUT MACHAR

Meanwhile a rebel commander of the SPLA-Io forces in Western Equatoria region told Sudan Tribune that whether the region forced Machar to exile or not, full scale war cannot be avoided as long the regime in Juba exists.

“Dr. Riek Machar is not inspirer of armed conflict facing this nation but simple man entrusted by those who felt victim of the regime in Juba, to lead the struggle for the betterment of all south Sudanese including the region,” said Brigadier General John Sunday Martin, SPLA-IO 3rd Brigade Commander Division 9 Midwest Equatoria.

He said any attempt to separate or depose Machar from the movement or depose him from the leadership will worsen the situation.

“The movement will possible spilt into factions on tribal bases which will not only make national unity impossible, but dismantle south Sudan, and make it ungovernable because there is no any political leader at this crucial stage like him to hold more than 200,000 SPLM/A- IO forces together under one command.”

If the international community is interested in bringing peace and stability to the people of South Sudan as well the region at large, then Machar must be deeply involved in the process, he further said.

Last July following armed clashes in Juba, Machar fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), then to Sudan from where he headed to South Africa. However, Martin emphasised that Machar is still in control of the entire SPLM-IO forces.

“Trying to keep Machar away, won’t solve any problems because he is part to the solutions of South Sudan as well part to entire armed forces in structure of the SPLM-IO.

“It is time for the regional body to understand the significant of Dr. Riek Machar in the political affairs of South Sudan and involves him deeply or else, forget about Peace and Stability in South Sudan because their (International Community) exclusive efforts won’t yield any fruits,” he added.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 24 November 2016 06:30, by Akuma

    Ethiopian are not good friend for South Sudan. They should have deported back Riek Machar to South Sudan where he has nationality not South Africa.

    repondre message

    • 24 November 2016 06:32, by Eastern

      Ethiopia is an independent country. It can choose to do what Kenya did to James Gatdet doing Kiir his bidding or do what they did to Dr Machar. Either way, the war will continue to rage on....

      repondre message

    • 24 November 2016 07:22, by Midit Mitot

      Akuma,
      Your government is so desperate to kill Dr Machar but this will not happen for sure, advice your agents not to wast their time and money to bribe African in order to get rid out of Machar from South Sudan, this will not happen, I repeat to say so .

      repondre message

      • 24 November 2016 11:59, by Akuma

        .....Just wait a minute and you will hear good news coming in on this same website

        repondre message

  • 24 November 2016 06:31, by S. Sudan Nationalist

    I think the region’s decision to give peace a chance is appreciated. South Sudan needs to follow the path of peace, not war. What Ethiopia has done shows that this can only be achieved by frustrating individuals who see war as the only means for gaining political participation. From now on people who want to participate in government should explore peaceful means. Bravo Ethiopia.

    repondre message

    • 24 November 2016 06:38, by Eastern

      You can wish for peace, work for it by ensuring those claiming authority do not act unilaterally. Now Kiir and Taban are planning on adding more states in South Sudan. Who were consulted when more than 25% of South Sudanese are displaced outside their country?

      repondre message

      • 24 November 2016 07:24, by S. Sudan Nationalist

        Eastern, thank you very much for this statement. The problem of South Sudan is not states. States are used as a strategy for political support first by Riek Machar and later Salva Kiir. Actually the proliferation of states add to the burden of South Sudan financially, politically and socially. We can actually do without states and focus on development and provision of social services.

        repondre message

  • 24 November 2016 06:43, by laat

    Dr. Riak Machar politic is dying off,Ethiopian have learn from recent disaster which left many people dead.there is a say if your neighbor house is burning please go and extinct the fire together instead to keep away.hornbil tail pain is not hornbil tail pain now.if African are not unit for common goal hence rebel will be existing everywhere.

    repondre message

  • 24 November 2016 06:56, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Machar, had no proper permission to stay in it.
    Therefore the former vice president ordered the army to overthrow the legitimate government of President Kiir,

    repondre message

  • 24 November 2016 07:11, by Tilo

    I may agree on this statement
    "The movement will possible spilt into factions on tribal bases which will not only make national unity impossible, but dismantle south Sudan, and make it ungovernable because there is no any political leader at this crucial stage like him to hold more than 200,000 SPLM/A- IO forces together under one command.”

    repondre message

    • 24 November 2016 08:20, by Paul Ongee

      Folks,
      This rumor is created by SPLM-IO head of propaganda machine Nyamilpedea because Sudan’s security denied entry of Dr. Risk Machar last Sunday to meet with his supporters in Khartoum. He was detained for two solid hours, struggling to negotiate with security at the Airport (KIA) but flown back to Addis where he spent a night there and on Monday took his flight back to South Africa.

      repondre message

      • 24 November 2016 08:21, by Paul Ongee

        The source of rumor also killed President Salva Kiir recently but the President immediately went out to the streets in Juba greetings his people, saying that "I am resurrected from the dead." He was looking very healthy, unlike the Head of the Enemy of Peace who is now in South Africa, struggling to sneak out again. Should he make another move, he’ll be deported to Juba. Stay tuned.

        repondre message

        • 24 November 2016 08:22, by Paul Ongee

          Tomorrow, you will again hear such rumor that Prime Minister of Ethiopia is dead, Kenyan President is dead, Uganda President (whom they assume he must be suffering from heart attack) will also be dead and Nigerian President will be dead because Nigeria denied entry to Dr. Risk Machar without prior approval. The list will be long until he (Dr Loser Risk Machar) loses his life on this planet.

          repondre message

          • 24 November 2016 08:22, by Paul Ongee

            The list will be long until he (Dr Loser Risk Machar) loses his life on this planet in an effort to become at any cost the Chairman of the SPLM Party, C-IN-C of the SPLA and lastly the President of South Sudan which he did not fight or sacrifice his life for since 1991. Did he rebel against Dr. John Garang before in 1991? Yes. Did he get forgiven by Dr. John Garang before in 2002? Yes.

            repondre message

            • 24 November 2016 08:23, by Paul Ongee

              Did he say SPLM/A was not democratic during the hard day where every marginalized citizen volunteered to join the popular movement? Yes. Was Nasir Faction/SSIM democratic? No. Was Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA-1997) implemented by him and Al-Bashir? No. Did he rebel against Al-Bsahir for failing to implement the KPA-1997? No. Why does he think that it’s easy to fight GOSS? Dr. Loser is Lost.

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              • 24 November 2016 08:43, by Eastern

                ...so the "internet warriors" are a force to reckon with....

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                • 24 November 2016 09:19, by Paul Ongee

                  The so-called IO is lost. Believe me or not. Martin is still relying on IO, Dr Loser Risk Machar, efforts of few Equatorians, you name it, that they are not part of the current problem? Waste your time in the bush. Gumul ma akulu inta gablikida like Dr Loser who spends most of his time in expensive hotels in African capitals declaring war on GOSS as a means to ascend to presidency.

                  repondre message

                  • 24 November 2016 09:28, by Paul Ongee

                    Martin, you are already given your military rank and position. What else do you want and why don’t think that IO since its beginning is a tribal movement headed by tribal Chief who previously sign KPA-1997 when you were not there? It seems that you’re trying to wake up now that without Dr. Loser Risk Machar IO will be tribally based, making mid-west of Equatoria ungovernable.

                    repondre message

  • 24 November 2016 12:48, by du-guecdit

    Bravo Ethiopia for no longer encouraging the suffering of the innocent South Sudanese. As for the warlord Mr martin, pliz! report yourself to the nearer cantonment area in Equatoria,and help implement peace with Gen. Taban n Salva Kiir.

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