South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar, said Friday that he would not return to Juba until regional troops are deployed in the capital to ensure his safety, his representative in Ethiopia, Jooyul Goi Yol has told AFP.
“We will not go back to be murdered,” said Goi Yol Jooyul. “We will not respond” to the call of President Salva Kiir, who asked Thursday Riek Machar returned to Juba to revive the peace process. Kiir said he expect a response within “48 hours.”
Machar has not been seen since he left Juba after days of fierce fighting that claimed the lives of at least three hundred people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. His representative said several of Machar’s bodyguards were killed in the violence, which is one of the reasons he has declined to return.
We will not go back to be murdered,” said Goi Yol Jooyul. “We will not respond” to the call of President Salva Kiir.
On Thursday, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir gave Machar a 48 hour ultimatum to return to the country’s capital Juba and work on implementing the peace agreement they signed in August.
“I am appealing for your return while reiterating my 100 percent commitment to ensuring your protection and overall security … “ Kiir said in a statement read by his spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny. “I will be expecting a response from your good self within 48 hours … “
The statement did not however disclose what would happen if Machar failed to return or make contact.
More than 10,000 people have died and over 2 million displaced since the conflict in South Sudan first erupted in December 2013.