The spokesman of the SPLM-in-Opposition says the failure of Riek Machar to arrive in Juba today as scheduled was caused by delays getting permissions for Machar’s bodyguards to carry weapons into Ethiopia en route to Juba.
SPLM-IO spokesman Mabior Garang told Radio Tamazuj this afternoon Machar travelled today from his headquarters in Pagak to the border of the Ethiopian Gambella province where it took time to get permission to cross, delaying their flight from Gambella airport to Juba.
Other reasons have been cited for the delay, however. In a separate statement, the SPLA-IO deputy military spokesman Dickson Gatluak explained that an aircraft that was scheuled to pick up the SPLA-IO Chief of Staff Simon Gatwech Dual to take him to Juba ahead of Machar, on a separate flight, was denied landing permission by the Ethiopian government.
“1st. Lt. Gen. who suppose to be dispatched to to Juba ahead of Dr Machar with other high ranking military officers from Pagak to participate in the swearing in of Dr. Machar as the 1st Vice President on Monday and represent the SPLA/IO which is the military wing made the delay,” said Dickson.
The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission declined to make comment when contacted today for clarification on the situation.
According to Mabior Garang, Machar has by now successfully crossed into Ethiopia and will fly from there to Juba tomorrow morning.
Another SPLM-IO source said two flights are expected at the airport tomorrow morning, the first at about 7:00 a.m. and the next flight at 9:00 a.m.