South Sudan armed opposition leader Riek Machar is coming home under the country’s latest peace deal, more than two years after he fled on foot into exile.
A spokesman, Lam Paul Gabriel told newsmen that Machar is returning to take part in a nationwide peace celebration on Wednesday, leading a small delegation but not bringing his own security despite concerns for his safety.
That arrangement has twice collapsed in deadly fighting, when the civil war broke out in December 2013 and again in July 2016 when an earlier peace agreement collapsed and Machar fled into neighboring Congo.
Machar wrote to Kiir last week saying he would attend Wednesday’s celebrations only if certain conditions were met, including the release of all political prisoners, the lifting of the state of emergency, free movement inside the country for all opposition groups and a guarantee for his safety.
While there has been no indication by South Sudan’s government that the concerns have been met, Kiir in an interview with Kenyan’s Citizen TV last week said Machar’s safety would be secured by the government.