August 30, 2017 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese rebel official says diplomatic efforts involving regional leaders are underway to have the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar freed from South Africa.
- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (L) listens to SPLM-IO Chairman Riek Machar in a meeting held in Masindi town, on January 25, 2016 (courtesy photo of SPLM-IO)
Nathaniel Perieno, the rebel-appointed governor of Imatong state told Sudan Tribune Tuesday that the process begun after the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailmariam Deselgn met the Sudanese President Omer Hussein Al Bashir during a visit to Khartoum last week.
Another group, he said, was dispatched from Addis-Ababa last week to meet the Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the same agenda, stressing that all consultations went as planned.
The official also lauded revitalization of the 2015 peace agreement process initiated by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to find a solution to South Sudan’s ongoing war.
“Well, it is true that IGAD principals are making consultation on the release of our chairman Dr. Riek Machar and we believe ending his forced confinement in South Africa will bring an end to the fighting in South Sudan,” he explained.
Museveni, the official further disclosed, also welcomed plans to have Machar freed, saying it would positively impact on revitalization of the peace process.
He said Kiir and Machar have active forces in the country and ending the war would imply silencing guns in order to stop the war.
“I’m optimistic about the IGAD-led revitalization process, the sooner the better for finding amicable peace in South Sudan,” he stressed.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced in South Sudan’s conflict triggered by political differences between President Kiir, a Dinka, and Machar, a Nuer.