Hope and excitement in Juba ahead of Machar arrival



South Sudan’s capital Juba is filled with talk of the much anticipated return of rebel leader Riek Machar, who is expected to take up the post of vice president in an African Union-backed peace deal meant to bring peace to the country.

Machar is expected to arrive in Juba on Monday morning to form the transitional unity government with President Salva Kiir, in efforts to silence the guns in the world’s youngest nation.

Many are however still pessimistic about the return of Machar, saying he has made promises to return in the past but never showed up. Tomorrow however, the rebel leader is expected to keep his word and arrive in Juba. Last week, a 1,370- strong force loyal to him arrived in the capital to ensure his security before his arrival.

His deputy Chief Alfred Ladu and other high ranking commanders in his force are also already in Juba to facilitate the modalities of Monday’s event. South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011, quickly descended into conflict in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his then deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup against his government.

Machar refuted the claims but went on to mobilize a rebel force to fight the government. The two sides have entered other peace deals before, but went against them on numerous occasions, with each faction accusing the other of going against the terms of the agreements.

Machar’s return tomorrow is seen as the country’s final recipe for bringing an end to the two-year conflict that has killed thousands and displaced millions others. Ahead of this anticipated return, the country’s ministry of culture organized an inter-tribal wrestling event meant to reconcile the different tribes.

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