The government of President Salva Kiir has urged former first vice president, Riek Machar, to denounce violence and rebellion before returning to the capital Juba or else stay away from active politics.
“If Riek Machar wants to come back to South Sudan, then he should denounce violence,” Sudan Tribune quotes information minister, Michael Makeui Lueth, telling the state-owned SSBC TV on Saturday.
The minister, also the government spokesperson, blamed the armed opposition leader for allegedly triggering the outbreak of fighting between the rival factions last month.
At least 270 soldiers were killed when forces loyal to President Kiir clashed with those allied to Machar at J1 presidential palace.
“It is his [Machar’s] coming here [Juba] which created this violence. So he should denounce violence so that we do not go back to war,” said Makuei.
Makuei said the regional IGAD has no right to impose Machar on the opposition movement.
“When Riek Machar was elected, it was not IGAD that brought him to lead that movement called the SPLM IO, it is the people who elected him.”
A faction of the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) in Juba nominated Taban Deng Gai, a former chief negotiator to replace Machar in July, but his appointment was described as “illegal” by Machar’s supporters and regional leaders.
Machar fled Juba last month and is currently hiding in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
James Gatdet Dak, spokesman for the opposition leader, said Machar was regaining strength from exhaustion after walking for hundreds of kilometers for 40 days in the bushes from Juba.
“I understand many people are eager to hear his voice or see him talking to the media. This will happen soon. He is regaining strength from the exhaustion. He walked for 40 days, also dodging bombs dropped on him by President Salva Kiir’s helicopter gunships. But he will speak to the media as soon as he feels stronger,” Dak told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
“Only his legs slightly got swollen because of walking for 40 days. He was not wounded. It is obvious that walking for such a very long time would result to extreme exhaustion. However, he has regained strength and it is a matter few days he will appear to the media,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kiir has approved Wau state governor Andrea Mayar Achor’s move to form committee seeking peace talks with armed dissidents in the area in order to restore calm and stability within the region.
Achor, who met Kiir on Sunday, said the approval of his initiative was an important step in finding a solution to the political and security matters in the area.
“I will be returning to the state soon. I came for an official visit to the president and my meeting with him and the leadership has been successful. We discussed administrative matters and the role of the state governments in implementation of peace agreement,” said Achor.
He added, “We also came for guidance and other directives from the president and the entire leadership of the SPLM. My discussions with all the concerned institutions were successful. The president has approved dialogue with those who have taken up arms in the state. We know from them what their grievances are and how such issues can be addressed”.
According to the governor, several committees have been formed and have agreed to form a new and more inclusive body to guide the diverse and divided groups ahead the planned talks aimed at ending the unrest.
The formation of such a body was seen as a prerequisite for the peace talks, and appeared to fit the objective pulling together political dissidents who have long distrusted one another as well as armed youth fighting the South Sudanese army (SPLA).