No sign of Machar's release, says rebel official
South Sudan’s rebels allied to the country’s former First Vice President Riek Machar said there is no sign from the East African regional bloc IGAD to release their leader Riek Machar from his forced confinement in South Africa during the second phase of the revitalization process next month.
Koat Gatkuoth, the SPLM-IO’s coordinator in Ethiopia, told Radio Tamazuj today that they had received an invitation from the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais, to attend the second phase of the revitalization forum on 5 February.
However, he said there is no any positive sign from the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to release Riek Machar from his forced confinement in South Africa.
“We are not sure if IGAD countries will consider the release of our leader. As a movement, we are pushing them to allow our chairman to participate. Up to now they haven’t given us a green light that our chairman will come back,” he said.
“They also ignored our request that there should be a support team that can provide support to our representatives during negotiations,” he added.
But Koat reaffirmed their rebel group’s commitment to participate in the second phase of the revitalization process in February.
South Sudan’s former First Vice President turned rebel leader is being held in South Africa to prevent him from going back to his country.
The decision was reportedly reached by IGAD countries in order to keep him away in the hope of preventing fighting in the world’s youngest nation.