South Sudan rebel leader Dr Riek Machar

The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) chief Riek Machar Teny has for the second time failed to return to the capital Juba.

Dr Machar was scheduled to be in Juba yesterday but according to his aides, failed due to ‘logistical issues’. But today, media sources said the aides said Dr Machar could not make it to Juba because a senior member of his advance team, SPLA-IO Army Chief of Staff General Simon Gatwech Dual had failed to get flight clearance. Gen Gatwech was supposed to lead a group of about 200 loyalist troops that would welcome Dr Machar at Juba International Airport.

According to plan, on arrival Dr Machar was supposed to head to the presidential palace where he would be sworn in as the Vice President, deputizing President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has advised its staff in the South Sudan capital Juba to restrict their movements in the city. According to a communication by the UN security, staff should not move beyond 9pm and should also avoid movements in areas around the Presidential Palace, Ministries Road and the John Garang Mausoleum.

The security alert was issued ahead of the return of Dr Machar which was slated for today.

Machar was South Sudan vice president between 2011 and 2013, when he was fired by President Salva Kiir. In the ensuing chaos the country descended into a bitter civil war which has so far claimed tens of thousands and displaced over 2 million.