South Sudan on Friday freed rebel leader Riek Machar’s spokesman and a South African adviser from prison, a Reuters witness and senior government official said, advancing a deal to end almost five years of civil war.
To reinforce the accord signed in September, President Salva Kiir on Wednesday ordered the release of retired South African colonel William Endley, an adviser to Machar, and James Gatdet, Machar’s spokesman.
The Reuters witness at the prison where they were held saw the two being asked to go and put on their civilian clothes after being brought out of their cell.
“We are here to implement the orders of the president. Their release comes as part of the peace process. They are now free,” Interior Minister Michael Chiangjiek said after signing paperwork confirming their release.
“Gatdet will be going to Khartoum and William Johan will be going to South Africa.”
Endley was sentenced to death in February for trying to bring down the government, while Gatdet was sentenced to death in the same month on charges of treason and incitement against the government.