NewsEast & Horn AfricaSouth Sudan frees rebel chief's associates to back peace deal


Posted on Friday, 02 November 2018 15:30

South Sudan frees rebel chief's associates to back peace deal

By Reuters

South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar speaks at peace celebrations in the capital Juba, South Sudan Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. Photo: Bullen Chol/AP/SIPASouth Sudan freed two associates of rebel leader Riek Machar from prison on Friday (November 2), advancing a deal to end almost five years of civil war.

To reinforce the accord signed in September, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Wednesday (October 31) ordered the release of retired South African colonel William Endley, an adviser to Machar, and James Gatdet, Machar's spokesman.

After signing paperwork confirming their release by Interior Minister Michael Chiengjiek, Endley and Gatdet were brought out of their cell and left prison in Juba in the civilian clothes.

William Endley said: "Yes, the country needs to move forward, as I said, the way the (South Sudanese) president spoke the other day with the support of doctor Riek (rebel leader Riek Machar) and the other parties and the support of everybody around here today, there is the future, not for us only but for the next generation and the generations to come."

Death sentence overturned

Troops loyal to both men clashed in the capital in December and ethnically charged fighting soon spread, shutting down oil fields and forcing millions to flee. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in fighting or died as a result of war, damage to health facilities or lack of food.

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.

The world's youngest nation erupted in conflict in 2013 after Kiir sacked Machar as vice president.

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