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S. Sudan rebel leader under house arrest in Pretoria: report
December 13, 2016
December 13, 2016 (JUBA) - South African authorities have confined
the former First Vice-President and leader of the rebel SPLM-IO, Riek
Machar, in a residence outside Pretoria in order to prevent him from
leaving the country again.
Machar embraced the South African government when he reached
Khartoum and Addis Ababa on 21 November without their information,
while he was hosted there on regional and international demands to
prevent the escalation of the fighting in the troubled South Sudan.
According to Reuters "Machar was being held "basically under house
arrest" near Pretoria with his movements restricted and his phone
calls monitored and controlled.
"If he wants to go to the toilet, he has to hand over his phone and a guy stands outside the cubicle," a well informed source stressed in his to
However, South African Foreign Ministry spokesperson Clayson Monyela denied that Machar was being held, adding he is a "guest" of Pretoria
to prevent the civil war sliding into genocide.
"Him being our guest here is part of our responsibility as a mediator," Monyela told Reuters, adding that it was "difficult to predict" the duration of
his stay. "It’s very hard to put timelines on these peace and security situations."
Last August, Machar left a United Nations base in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo on a Sudanese plane to Khartoum. The UN
and the Sudanese government said they intervened on humanitarian grounds.
But in October, following consultations between the IGAD countries Pretoria and Washington it was decided to keep him far from the region to
prevent a civil war in the country.
According to Reuters, "the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-country East African group, had asked Pretoria to make sure
Machar did not leave. The United States, Britain and Norway had supported that request".
"He keeps going back and mobilising his people and stirring up problems," a source told Reuters. "It’s best to keep him here for a while."