South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar said the fighting that broke out on July 8, 2016 in capital Juba between forces loyal to him and government soldiers was a calculated plan to kill him.
He therefore called for a deployment third neutral peacekeeping force to normalize the situation Juba.
Machar’s remarks, aired on BBC Focus on Africa Program were in response to a statement by President Salva Kiir in which he said the opposition leader had refused to come for a meeting to resolve the situation under the pretext that his life was in danger.
“We have a pending meeting, he as president and me as vice president. And also if it were a normal situation, we would meet, but the incident that took place on the 8th [July,2016] in the State House is a very despicable incident, where there was a shootout, and a dog fight, when we were in a meeting. That was a calculated plan to kill me” Machar said.
Asked whether the Transitional Government of National Unity, which is part of the peace agreement signed after two years of war is still in place, Machar expressed skepticism saying all has been altered by the recent clashes.
“It is fragmented, it has split. We now need help in stabilizing the security of Juba,” he said.
He also allude to an incident where one of his senior official and SPLM-IO secretary general Dhieu Mathok, was attacked and beaten in a hotel in Juba by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir
Machar said the minister and others who are accommodated in the same hotel were preparing to meet and talk to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) chairman Festus Mogae and African Union Special Envoy to South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konare, who were is Juba to assess the situation after the two had mate president Kiir.
“This has created Panic, real Panic among the ministers who are there. Because of the gravity of the situation, I contacted President Kiir to tell him, this was unbecoming,” he added
He said the only way to resolve the insecurity and bring Juba to normalcy is to allow the redeployment of a third force to protect both sides and Juba be demilitarized.
“That is why the IGAD Council of Ministers decided that there should be an intervention force, third force, that be deployed in Juba and Juba be demilitarized,” he said.
However, speaking to the media on Thursday, Kiir said his government “will not accept a single soldier” to back peacekeepers as demanded by IGAD and the United Nation Security Council.