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Denounce violence, official tells South Sudan rebel leader

January 3, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s First Vice-President, Taban Deng Gai has advised rebel leader, Riek Machar to denounce armed rebellion and return to the young nation.

Riek Machar sits in his field office in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014. (Photo/Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Riek Machar sits in his field office in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014. (Photo/Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Speaking during a visit to Yei River state on Sunday, Gai said regional countries denied Machar safe entry into their territories and would be locked out for a foreseeable future.

“Riek Machar has been parked [in South Africa] like a car without wheels,” Gai told a crowd gathered in Yei town.

“Time for conflict in South Sudan had ended. Time for conflict in the region has ended in all regions,” he told the Juba Monitor newspaper adding, “This is time for peace”.

This was the First Vice-President’s first visit to Yei River state since his controversial appointment to replace Machar.

“This year, for the sake of peace, [we] should talk to our relatives to join peace. Let them [rebels] know what happened to Riek Machar. Now Riek Machar is a trouble maker and he has been parked in South Africa. They will be parked like Machar,” said Gai.

“Riek Machar will not be seen again. He would be seen again in elections if there is peace. If there is no peace, Riek Machar will not be seen again,” he added.

Meanwhile, Agel Machar, a youthful member of armed opposition faction said Gai’s peaceful approach to the South Sudanese ongoing conflict would work.

“I believe in the leadership of Gen Taban Deng Gai, because he is working for peace, not war. My leaders in the IO-Riek are for war, which I protest,” Agel told The Dawn newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.

Agel, who hails from Bahr el-Ghazal region, initially backed the Machar-led rebel faction.

(ST)

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