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South Sudan Condemns Machar's Threats of War

  • VOA News

South Sudan's former vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar seen in this 2013 file photo. Machar called for renewed armed struggle.

South Sudan's former vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar seen in this 2013 file photo. Machar called for renewed armed struggle.

South Sudan's government has condemned statements calling for a return to armed conflict by former Vice President Riek Machar.

"It is unacceptable to the peoples of South Sudan to even contemplate, let alone be threatened with, a return to armed conflict," First Vice President Taban Deng Gai said Wednesday.

Gai said, "by threatening to return to war, my predecessor has made clear he places his own political ambitions above the government's ambitions for peace and security."

Machar, who is in Sudan's capital Khartoum, called for an armed struggle against the government of President Salva Kiir, a move that could mark a renewal of the country's civil war.

The call came in a statement issued during the weekend, following a meeting of Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO).

The movement signed a peace deal with South Sudan's government in August 2015, but implementation was delayed and largely fell apart after the sides clashed in the capital, Juba, in July.

South Sudan's conflict began with clashes between supporters of Kiir and Machar in Juba in December 2013, five months after Kiir fired Machar as his deputy. Fighting since then has displaced more than two million people.

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