South Sudan’s Machar returns to Juba, sworn in as VP
South Sudan’s rebel leader, Riek Machar, has been sworn in as vice-president in a boost for a peace deal aimed at ending more than two years of conflict.
He returned earlier to the capital, Juba, to take the post in a new unity government led by President Salva Kiir.
Tens of thousands have been killed and about two million people left homeless in the conflict in South Sudan, which became independent in 2011.
Mr. Machar fled Juba at the start of the civil war in December 2013.
He had been accused of trying to organise a coup, which he denied – but it set off a round of tit-for-tat killings, which developed into a full-blown conflict.
Mr. Machar, wearing a light-coloured shirt, was greeted by ministers and diplomats as he stepped out of his plane, the AFP news agency reported.
“We need to bring our people together so they can unite and heal the wounds,” Mr. Machar was quoted as saying.
He said his main priorities were to ensure a permanent ceasefire, to stabilise the economy and ensure humanitarian access throughout South Sudan.
The civil war broke out over tensions between Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar, who was sacked as vice-president in July 2013.
The BBC in Juba said once the government is formed, donors will start stumping up money – crucial as the economy is at rock bottom.
However, it is not necessarily the end of the conflict as both sides have continued to clash despite a ceasefire signed in August, he said.
There are also rebel groups, which have not signed the peace deal.