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Returnee Rebels to South Sudan’s Juba Reach 511, Army Spokesperson

The number of returnee Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)-In Opposition forces has so far reached 511 after more than 120 soldiers arrived on Sunday evening, officials said on Monday.

South Sudan Army spokesperson Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang said the SPLA-IO soldiers and policemen are being hosted in three sites with two hosting the soldiers and the other police.

"There are a total of 511 of them in Juba as of Sunday evening after arrival of about 120 arrived," Ruai told press on Monday.

He added the 1,370 forces thresh hold is expected to be met this week and focus will then shift to the preparation of Machar’s arrival.

This came after the return of 22 police generals and SPLA-IO forces in March with the first batch of 40 soldiers and the delayed return to Juba of the First-Vice President designate Dr. Riek Machar hinges on the return to Juba of his 1,370 protection force.

Machar has recently indicated that he will imminently return to Juba as soon as possible to form the transitional government of national unity with President Salva Kiir under the Intergovernmental Authority and Development, signed August 2015 peace deal to end the more than two-year civil war.

The conflict that broke out in December 2013 has killed tens of thousands, displaced over 2 million people from their homes and 200,000 live in UN protection camps meanwhile 5 million face food insecurity.

By Robert Muriisa.

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