Kiir tells Machar to prepare for Vatican visit

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

April 1st 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, has invited opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny to prepare for a trip set for Vatican next week,  a senior opposition official said on Monday.

Last month,  South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuey Lueth, told reporters in the capital Juba that Kiir, who visited the Vatican a day before,  will return to meet the Pope in April. He said Kiir will be accompanied by Machar, Pagan Amum, Gabriel Changson Chang and other prominent opposition leaders.

This evening,  Manawa Peter Gatkuoth Gual, the deputy chairperson of the SPLM-IO national committee for information and public relations was quoted by the Radio Tamazuj as saying that Machar is invited for the Vatican visit and the “meeting [with Pope Francis] is expected to take place from 9 to 10 April.”

Manawa confirmed that the prominent opposition leader is still under detention in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and his release from South African detention last year was just a change of cell.

“I want to confirm that Dr. Riek is still under detention. He cannot move without permission from IGAD. What happened is that his located has been changed from South Africa to Sudan,” he said.

He urged the region to release Machar unconditional so as to visit countries in mobilizing for peace implementation in South Sudan.

“We had requested the region to allow Machar to visit some countries to push for the peace process in South Sudan, but no positive response so far. We are calling upon IGAD to set Machar free,” he said accusing “some circles in the region” for not wanting Machar to be free.