Former rebel leader, Riek Machar flees South Sudan violence

Former rebel leader, Riek Machar flees South Sudan violence
2 min read
18 August, 2016
Violent clashes forced South Sudan's former vice president, Riek Machar to flee towards an unknown safe location outside of the conflict-ridden country.
The former vice president fled after violence erupted in the country [AFP]
South Sudan's former rebel leader and ex-vice president Riek Machar fled to a “safe” country in the region after violent clashes erupted last month, his aides have said.

"(Machar) has now been safely evacuated to a safe country within the region he will hold a press conference within the next 24 hours," Mabior Garang de Mabior, a spokesman for Machar's SPLM-IO party, said in a statement, without revealing where he had fled to.

Machar left Juba following heavy fighting in the capital between July 8 and 11 before being replaced by former ally, Taban Deng Gai.

On Wednesday, Gai warned Machar from interfering in politics in order to allow peace to prevail.

Also on Wednesday, the United Nations launched an investigation into an attack on aid workers who were raped and assaulted in a hotel, while UN peacekeepers allegedly failed to act.

The UN Security Council approved on Friday a US-drafted resolution to strengthen the 12,000-person peacekeeping mission with 4,000 additional troops drawn from regional armies and equipped with a more aggressive mandate.

South Sudan fell into the brink of collapse wen civil war broke out between ethnicities in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

Last month, Juba was rocked by several days of heavy fighting between Kiir's forces and those loyal to Machar. A peace deal signed between the government and rebels almost a year ago has so far failed to end the ongoing conflict.