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Machar escorted by his forces on Friday: official

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July 9, 2016 (JUBA) – A top media official in the office of the First Vice President, Riek Machar, dismissed “misinformation” that his boss was escorted to his Jebel site residence in the outskirts of the national capital, Juba, by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir who killed many of his bodyguards at the Presidential Palace, or J1, on Friday.

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First Vice President, Riek Machar, accompanied by SPLA-IO officers, Juba, 27 May, 2016 (ST Photo)

Media report earlier suggested that Machar, whose many of his bodyguards were killed during the Friday clash, was instead escorted to his residential area by forces from a rival army commanded by President Kiir.

James Gatdet Dak, the press secretary of the first deputy who also commands a separate army in South Sudan, said the matter was exaggerated.

“No, this is not true. It is twisted and exaggerated. He [Machar] was escorted by his forces of the SPLA-IO. Yes, of course there were officers of the Military Intelligence from the SPLA who took part in the escort up to Gudele area,” Dak clarified.

He said the purpose of involving the SPLA personnel in the escort of the First Vice President was to avoid further misunderstandings which previously occurred on Gudele road between the rival forces.

"The reason was for them to have direct communication with their patrol units on the road so as not to try to stop the convoy," he said.

He commended the SPLA forces loyal to President Kiir for their cooperation after the clashes.

Dak said the road has some deployed SPLA soldiers who sometimes do “illegal searches” and might have clashed again with the escort convoy of the SPLA-IO forces who accompanied the First Vice President.

Earlier reports alleged that the SPLA forces were the ones who escorted Machar in a move seen to be a “humiliation” that they spared his life at will.

But Dak said SPLA-IO forces were the ones in charge of their leader’s protection as he was returning home from J1.

Fighting erupted on Friday outside the Presidential Palace while leaders of the South Sudanese presidency were in a meeting in the Palace.

About 37 of the SPLA-IO soldiers loyal to first deputy president, Machar, and more than 90 of the SPLA soldiers loyal to President Kiir were reportedly killed during the clash.

About 25 civilians were reportedly among the victims, according to Juba Teaching Hospital officials, bringing the total number killed to about 150.

The bodyguards of the two leaders who were inside the palace did not fight, owing to concerns that the two top leaders’ lives would have been put to direct risk.

(ST)

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  • 9 July 2016 22:16, by Thokidine

    This article carry some water as Jieng soldiers had knowingly planned this attempt to arrest, harm or kill Dr. Machar. There is no way Dinka soldiers would spare Riek’s life as they consider him their number one problem because he correct them at point blank. Had the history been the other side of the coin (Govt report), Riek could ve been dead longtime ago. Thanks for clarification though...

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    • 9 July 2016 23:18, by Freedom Fighter

      Gadet Dak doesn’t have the facts on the ground here in Juba. He is reporting out of Nairobi, Kenya currently. In fact, it was SPLA escorted Riek Machar to his residence after all of his White Army bodyguards ( 95 ) including 3 top generals were taken out by the SPLA. SPLA itself lost 14 soldiers in the fighting took place around the Palace yesterday, which was started by the White Army

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      • 10 July 2016 07:18, by Eastern

        Colonised fighter,

        James Gadet Dak is right here in Juba......

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      • 10 July 2016 10:19, by Joseph Canada

        Food fighter, the lie you posses is what your whole tribe posses. you were a born lyers,

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  • 9 July 2016 22:35, by Thokidine

    ... our diehard Dinka brothers whose eyes are covered by corruption and tribalism will not accept the fact. If they argue too much, just use ratio of 37 vs 115, this will prove that there is no way they can escort Machar.

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    • 10 July 2016 07:33, by Khent

      Only an absolute moron would regard these figures as factual. Riek would not have survived if the army as a whole (and not just small splinter cells) had been tasked with eliminating the traitor.

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  • 9 July 2016 22:41, by DENG GAI GATLUAK

    It’s incontrovertible that, the predicament was a well prepared revenge offensive against the SPLA-IO. Howbeit, R.I.P. to both presidential guards who lose their precious lives in the pretext of protecting their leaders, when ironically both leaders were comfortably taking tea at the J1 V.I.P. lounge. Thank for the clear clarification #James Gatdet.

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