A South Sudanese armed opposition official said that the group’s exiled leader Riek Machar is currently holed up in a secret “Diplomatic mission” in a yet to be disclosed location, igniting questions on his his whereabouts.
There have been reports that South Sudan government agents tried to influence to South African authorities to arrest and deport Machar who has been declared persona non grata in the war-torn county. East Africa Daily could not confirm this rumor.
Machar who declared an armed uprising against Kiir following the collapse of peace agreement in July, 2016 is believed to be in a secret location in Johannesburg, South Africa allegedly under medical attention.
In a statement issued to the media, SPLM-IO National Director of Information and Public Relations Puok Both Baluang said “We would like to refute this false information made by anti-peace elements. We are calling for all SPLM/SPLA (IO) members to remain calm and not be misled by these propaganda,”
Buluang further said that the opposition movement condemned in the strongest terms the recent massacre in Yei, allegedly by the Mathiang Angoor militias, during which many civilians were hacked to death with machetes and burned with their arms bound.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) is fully committed to the political settlement as the only way to resolve the conflict in South Sudan,” he said, advocating the resuscitation of the ARCISS (Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan)
Buluang’s statement has raised suspicion among supporters that Machar could have secretly returned back to his base in the rebel controlled areas of Pagak, in Upper Nile state.