South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar has returned to the capital, Juba, more than two years after he fled the country after the collapse of a 2016 peace deal. Machar, the former vice president, returned to Juba today to take part in a peace ceremony.
Machar fled to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016. It is not immediately clear how long he will remain in Juba, as his aides have expressed concerns over his safety in the city. Several thousand people have gathered for the ceremony at the John Garang Mausoleum, built in honour of the independence hero who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2005.
Among regional leaders in Juba for the ceremony were Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Ethiopia’s newly appointed President Sahle-Work Zewde and Somalia’s head of state Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
Last month, Machar and President Salva Kiir signed a new peace deal in Ethiopia in the latest attempt to end the five-year civil war that erupted in the world’s youngest country in December 2013.