South Sudan's president Salva Kiir says exiled rebel leader Riek Machar can return to the country

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has called on his exiled former deputy and rebel leader, Riek Machar, to return to the country, saying he will guarantee his safety and protection, Radio Tamazuj website based out of Netherland reports.

The website quotes Salva Kiir saying: "I said you bring Riek Machar to Juba here. Bring him to Juba and I will guarantee his safety, and I will protect him with the national army. If you don't believe me, the RPF [Regional Protection Force] is here. You bring the RPF to take charge of the security of Riek Machar in Juba."

"Nobody would believe that I would call for Riek to be brought, but I said bring him because Riek is a citizen of SouthSudan... What we are doing here is forgiveness… Riek is a citizen of South Sudan and he will return."

Mr Machar fled the country in July 2016 after heavy clashes between his forces and troops allied to President Kiir.

In the past, Mr Kiir and several other South Sudanese officials ruled out the return of Mr Machar, saying it would re-ignite fighting in the war-torn country.

The South Sudanese leader may have finally bowed to pressure from the regional bloc, IGAD, the AU and western nations to reach out to his rival to end the country's devastating civil war.


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