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Machar fires minister over Kiir, sets condition for his return to Juba

By Charles Etukuri

Added 23rd July 2016 12:11 PM

Another statement released shortly after directed all SPLA-IO commanders and units to cut off communication with the dismissed minister.

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South Sudan first Vice President, Riek Machar(L) and South Sudan President Sava Kiir(R)

Another statement released shortly after directed all SPLA-IO commanders and units to cut off communication with the dismissed minister.

South Sudan’s First Vice President, who is also the Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA-IODr. Riek Machar on Friday fired one of his ministers in the coalition Government.

Machar fired mining Minister, General Taban Deng Gai, from his position and accused him together with a few others of being behind a conspiracy engineered by President Sava Kiir's faction to divide the SPLM/SPLA (IO), and to dismantle the August 2015 peace deal.

A brief statement released James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s spokesperson says: “Dr. Riek Machar has dismissed Taban Deng Gai from the SPLM/SPLA (IO). He has also withdrawn and recalled him as minister of mining.”

Another statement released shortly after directed all SPLA-IO commanders and units to cut off communication with the dismissed minister.

Machar spokesperson also said that contrary to a directive from President Kiir that the First Vice-President returns to Juba, he would only return once a third party force is deployed. “President Salva Kiir's 48 hours ultimatum is unnecessary,” Gatdet said.

Machar left Juba and immediately fled to his hideouts after a fighting broke two weeks ago while he was at the Presidential palace. He has been in hiding since then.

In another statement, Gatdet said that the position of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) is that they supported the deployment of a third force in the country to help bring order in the country accusing Kiir of failing to manage his army. “The position of SPLM/SPLA is very clear that we support the proposed deployment of a third force in the national capital, Juba. The unbelievable lawlessness which exploded at the very palace (J1) of President Salva Kiir on Friday, July 8, 2016, has clearly indicated that either he lost control of his army commanders and forces or he is himself a suspect in the mess.

In order to restore peace, security and civility to the capital, to protect civilians and the country's leadership including President Kiir himself, there is need for deployment of additional foreign troops with a stronger mandate under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).”

Machar fled Juba at the start of the civil war in December 2013 but returned in April this year and was sworn in as First vice-president following a peace deal that was initiated by the neighbouring countries aimed at ending more than two years of conflict.

He took up his post in a new unity government led by President Kiir and both parties agreed to share cabinet positions in Government.

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