Timeline: Two years of Machar’s exile

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a news conference in his office in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri - RTX1QF4B
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a news conference in his office in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri – RTX1QF4B

June 20th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – It has been almost two years since South Sudan’s prominent opposition and SPLM-IO leader, Dr. Riek Machar, who is finally released today, has been under forced detention in South Africa since November 2016. The Nyamilepedia gives a brief account of how Machar went into detention till his release today.

In July 2016, fighting break out at the presidential Palace J1 nearly three months after Machar returned to the South Sudan’s capital as part of a peace agreement implementation signed in Addis Ababa about ten months early.

The fighting forced Machar out of the South Sudanese capital Juba and in few days later, Machar withdrew to the deep forest of the Equatoria region with hot pursuit of aerial bombardment by government troops assisted by foreign mercenaries including the Black Water security company.

After nearly 40 days while on the run, Machar was extradited to the Democratic Republic of Congo by the UN mission MONUSCO and was treated of injuries and exhaustion for days before moving to the Sudanese capital Khartoum for further treatment there.

Early in July, the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardiit replaced Machar with Taban Deng Gai who was previously the SPLM-IO Chief Negotiator who was furry because he was not appointed as the minister of Petroleum. Taban, prior to his appointment as the First Vice-President, defected and said Machar had no interest to bring peace to the country.

A number of government ministers who were appointed on Machar’s ticket had remained behind in the South Sudanese capital and were reportedly forced by Taban to denounce Machar and work with Kiir to advance then failing peace deal. These ministers include the Dhieu Mathok Ding Wol who also double as the Secretary general of the SPLM-IO and Alfred Lado Gore who was Machar’s deputy.

In September, few days before Machar would leave for South Africa for further medical check ups, the SPLM-IO political bureau met in Khartoum under the leadership of Machar. The meeting resolved to declare an armed resistance against the regime in Juba whom they accused of violating the peace agreement.

The declaration that the peace agreement dead and the collapse of the Transitional Government of National Unity angered the international community, especially the United States of America and condemned the movement.

Machar then left and went to South Africa initially for further medical treatment but the trip later turned into a nightmare.

United States reportedly urged the region to isolate Machar in order to prevent him having influence over his fighters most of whom were turning to Taban by the time. Later, Machar tried to leave South Africa and came to Addis Ababa but was denied entry by the Ethiopian authorities at Bole International Airport and had to try to go to Khartoum where he was also denied entry. He then had to move back to South Africa where he remained under detention until Wednesday.

In March 2018, the IGAD in an extraordinary meeting held in Addis Ababa decided to release Machar but on the condition that he renounce violence before he is relocated to a country out side the region.

Machar’s SPLM-IO disagreed on the attached condition saying they denounced violence because they signed the ceasefire agreement in December 2017.

On 31st May, the IGAD decided to release Machar completely and endorsed his full participation in the peace process and ordered a face-to-face meeting between him and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardiit.

Today, Machar arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa after almost two years in detention marking a beginning of a new political chapter in the Republic of South Sudan.

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