Sudan said Tuesday it had received former South Sudanese Vice President and rebel leader Dr Riek Machar on humanitarian grounds for medical treatment he urgently needs. Mr Machar’s whereabouts were unknown for weeks after he left Juba until last week, when his spokesperson confirmed he was in a safe place in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Congo said it had no knowledge Machar was in their country.
Machar was replaced by Taban Gai as the country’s first vice president after fighting broke out in the capital leaving more than 100 dead and thousands seeking refuge in refugee camps.
Sudanese government spokesperson did not say when Machar arrived in Khartoum but confirmed he needed immediate medical care and he is now stable. Khartoum said the rebel leader is free to stay in Sudan until he decides when to leave.
South Sudan said it has been informed of Machar’s arrival in Khartoum. Relations between the two countries have strained further as Juba accuses Khartoum of supporting Machar especially during the civil war that recently ended with a fragile peace agreement.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned South Sudanese leaders to stick to the peace agreement or face sanctions.
“If they don’t, then obviously it may be that the U.N. arms embargo and sanctions are going to be the tools of last resort. It’s not what people wanted to have to do, but our hope is that the government, the transition government will seize the bull by the horns here and get the job done,” he said.
The violence that erupted in Juba last month prompted the UN to push for additional regional protection force of about 4,000 troops. Machar however accused President Salva Kiir of violating the terms and conditions of the peace accord to form a unity government.
South Sudan secured its independence from Sudan in 2011 and the country has been faced with violence including towards the press since.