South Sudanese rebel leader-cum-Vice President Riek Machar will see his troop again after close to five years.
A meeting convened by President Salva Kiir last week gave Machar–who has been under house arrest– a chance to visit his troops to accelerate peace accord programs, according to officials from the opposition SPLM-IO.
“The meeting resolve that…Dr. Riak Machar, accompanied by some vice presidents and ministers, shall undertake a tour of different areas of the country for the purpose of disseminating R-ARCSS,” partly reads a statement.
“This measures is intended among other things, to help address some of the recurrent problem associated with freedom of access and movement within, areas still under the administrative control of the SPLM.IO by entrenching the reality that the RTGONU is a simple unified government having undivided jurisdiction over the entire territory of the republic of South Sudan,” the statement continues.
Since his return to Juba in 2020, Machar has reportedly been under strict monitoring in a plan overseen by regional grouping IGAD, which brokered the holding peace agreement.
In November 2019, envoys wrote to IGAD to lift restrictions on Machar. The head of Inter-government Authority on Development liaison office in the war-torn country, Tesfaye Negassa told reporters that he had written to the Bloc’s chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to reconsider Machar’s freedom.
“As you know his Excellency the First Vice President of this country is holding a very high office, and by virtue of that, he has all the privileges to move around … as IGAD, we have handled it and IGAD’s Executive Secretary has already written a letter to the IGAD chairperson about his free movements,” he told reporters.
Conditions around Machar’s freedom punch holes in the holding ceasefire negotiated by international and regional actors that has reduced hostilities between government and rebel forces.
South Sudan is currently struggling to implement key aspects of the 2018 peace deal, such as the training and unification of both opposition and government troops.
The necessary unified forces estimated to be around 83,000 personnel are expected to take charge of security during the transitional period.