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Machar’s return to Juba signals new beginning – academic

South Sudan’s ex-vice president and former rebel leader Riek Machar exits a plane as he arrives to Juba to meet President Salva Kiir, at the Juba international airport, South Sudan, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Samir Bol

September 9th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The return – to Juba – of South Sudan’s prominent opposition and SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny signals a new beginning for peace in the world’s youngest nation, an academic said Tuesday.

Dr. Luka Biong, a South Sudanese academic who was a head of Juba University’s Centre for Peace and Development Studies said in a statement that Machar’s return to Juba before the expected formation of unity government in November signals a new beginning.

The return of Dr Riek to Juba signals a new beginning and opportunity for Juba to win peace by genuinely resolving the outstanding issues of ten states, federalism and unification of all forces into one national army,” Biong said in a statement.

Biong said the challenge for the government would be weather the main armed opposition leader would be honored and treated as a true peace partner.

He said any humiliation for Machar may renew violence and ignite revenge as the prominent figure in South Sudan’s politics commands a strong support among his ethnic groups.

The challenge is whether Juba will honor Dr Riek as a true partner in peace or humiliating him by not adhering to the provisions of the September 2018 peace agreement. Although Dr Riek may look frail and weak, he commands strong support from his community and any humiliation of him and his supporters may renew violent and revenge confrontation as it happened in J1 in 2016,” he added.

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