South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar has refused to return to Juba without heavy armed forces that are equivalent to government forces.
According to Peter Gatkuoth, the deputy head of the armed opposition’s information committee, Riek Machar who has been exile in South Africa will not return back home with his forces in place.
The official’s remarks came days after President Salva Kiir publicly admitted he had allowed the rebel leader to return the nation he fled from after the July 2016 skirmishes.
Kiir made the remarks to welcome Machar from exile during last week’s National Liberation Council (NLC) meeting of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). But Gatkouth said the exiled armed opposition leader needed to be protected if he has to return to Juba.
“Machar will return to Juba when there is a negotiated peace agreement through the revitalization forum. We are committed to peace because we know our people are suffering,” Gatkouth emphasized.
The civil war in South Sudan has left killed tens of thousands of people and forced a quarter of the country’s 12 million people from their homes. More than half of the population are reportedly in need of food aid.