South Sudan: Ex-rebel leader Riek Machar chosen as 1st vice president

South Sudan: Ex-rebel leader Riek Machar chosen as 1st vice president

- Riek Machar's appointment as South Sudan's first vice president comes after a series of consultations geared towards restoring peace in the oil-rich nation

- Machar previously served as the inaugural vice president of South Sudan from its independence in 2011 until 2013 and then again from April 2016 to July 2016

- In July 2016, Machar's bodyguards and President Salva Kiir's guards fought each other, sparking days of violence

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has named former rebel leader Riek Machar as the country's first vice president after the duo agreed to form a national unity government.

The appointment comes after a series of consultations geared towards restoring peace in the oil-rich nation.

Kiir said the new government will be formed on Saturday, February 22 according to a statement by the South Sudan Presidential Press Unit.

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South Sudan: Salva Kiir appoints former rebel leader Riek Machar as country's 1st vice president

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (right) shakes hands with former rebel leader Riek Machar. Photo: Al Jazeera.
Source: UGC

"President Kiir declares that he has agreed with Dr Riek Machar to form the revitalized transitional national unity government, " part of the statement read, adding that the South Sudanese are tired of war and deserve peace and stability to develop the country.

Machar previously served as the inaugural vice president of South Sudan from its independence in 2011 until 2013 when he was shown the door for allegedly planning to "overthrow" Kiir's government.

After his sacking, he led a rebel movement against his former boss until April 2016 when he was re-appointed again but only lasted three months.

South Sudan: Salva Kiir appoints former rebel leader Riek Machar as country's 1st vice president

South Sudan President Salva Kiir said the country was tired of constant conflicts. Photo: South Sudan Presidential Press Unit.
Source: Facebook

In July 2016, Machar's bodyguards and Kiir's presidential guards fought each other, sparking days of violence.

Hundreds of people died and more than 100 000 fled across the border before Machar fled to exile in DRC then to South Africa.

The conflict badly hurt the oil-rich nation's economy, and roughly half the country's 12 million people are in urgent need of food aid.

One of the major obstacles in the peace process would be a delicate process of integrating tens of thousands of former rival forces into a united army.

Besides Machar's appointment to the second-highest office in the world's youngest state, Kiir named Tut Kew as his security advisor while Mayiik Deng retained his presidential affairs docket.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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