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South Sudan’s armed opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, thanks his forces, the people of greater Equatoria, the United Nations and the government of DR Congo for a successful evacuation from Juba to Kinshasa amid intense violence.

According to his spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, the First Vice President of a Transitional government that has now collapsed, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, deeply appreciates the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO, a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Congolese government under the leadership of Joseph Kabila for cordial arrangements that safely landed him in Kinshasa on August 17, 2016.

“The First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO), thanked the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or MONUSCO, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), under the leadership of His Excellency President Joseph Kabila, for their hospitality by airlifting him and his officials from the South Sudan-DRC border and for taking good care of him and his officials in the DRC.” Said James Gatdet Dak, the press secretary of Dr. Machar.

Machar thanks his protection unit, military generals and other gallant forces for having fought successfully against hundreds of thousands of well-equipped government troops that intended to kill Machar and his senior generals.

“Dr. Machar also issued a congratulatory message to the gallant forces of the SPLA-IO who have fought successfully in self-defence since July 8, 2016, attack by President Salva Kiir’s forces in the attempt to murder him at the Presidential Palace in Juba.” said Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet.

According to James Gatdet Dak, Machar is exhausted after spending 40 days walking on foot while fighting off aggression, however, he assures that the chairman is responding well to medical support and he will address the media in the next few days.

“Despite being “exhausted” after staying in the bushes and walking on foot for 40 days, he is very fine and he has assured that he will soon speak to the media in the next few days, and particularly as he is establishing contacts with the leaderships of IGAD, AU and the UN to communicate his views on the current situation in the peace process.” Dak said.

Gatdet assures that Dr. Machar will soon be on transit to IGAD member states in the region where he will address issues relating to South Sudan’s Peace Agreement.

The armed opposition believes that their leader, Machar, is still the legitimate First Vice President of the country.

They argue that Machar was not officially replaced within the party and Taban Deng Gai no longer represents the movement after he was compromised by the regime.

Many politicians in Machar’s camp argue that Taban was bribed by President Salva Kiir’s leadership to instigate a coup in the opposition for him to be rewarded Machar’s position in return.

With exception of Gen. Taban Deng Gai and a few others, many politicians of SPLM-IO believes that Machar narrowly escaped an assassination plan in the capital, Juba.

His young son, one of the bodyguards, was killed on July 8th fighting at presidential compound in Juba.

Insiders’ reports speculate that at least 37 bodyguards of Dr. Machar were killed among the 300 people that perished on July 8th at the palace.

Many other soldiers and civilians were killed between July 10th and 11th before Machar tactically withdrawn from Juba after the two principles declared a ceasefire to break the fighting on the evening of July 11th.

More intense fighting continued around Juba for the last 40 days as government forces pursued Machar with helicopters, tanks and heavy artillery.

No one knows the total number of casualties but the results of continued fighting are devastating. According to BBC reports the military hospital in Juba is accommodating more than 1000 patients, mostly wounded soldiers from the recent battles around the country.

The fighting has forced many diplomats and foreigners to flee the country, worsening the economic situation of a country that depends on foreign imports and oil revenue.


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