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Machar commits to peace as S. Sudan President Kiir frees two political prisoners

South Sudan main opposition leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan president Salva Kiir have committed to a new chapter of peace in Africa’s youngest nation(PPU PHOTO)

JUBA – South Sudan main opposition leader Riek Machar has reiterated his commitment to the implementation of the peace deal.

Speaking at a peace ceremony in Juba that was also attended by regional leaders such as President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday, the rebel chief said he was ready to agree to all terms for the sake of peace in the war-ravaged country.

“We come here today to confirm to you that we are for peace…We want peace and unity,” Machar told the crowd at Freedom Square on Wednesday.

Machar who is now the first Vice President called on President Salva Kiir for the release of political detainees in the country.

“We are aware that after the crisis in 2016, some people were arrested. So, political prisoners should all be released,” said Machar.

He announced that the new peace deal will lead to the creation of a federal government.

“The peace agreement will bring you a federal system of governance.”

President Kiir immediately declared on Wednesday the release of two political detainees.

James Gatdet, a former spokesman of rebel leader Riek Machar and a South African national William Endley, who had been sentenced to death by a Juba court in February will be freed on Thursday.

President Kiir made the declaration during his speech at a peace ceremony in the capital Juba.

“Today [Wednesday], I declare the release of two political prisoners James and Endley,” he said.

Mr Gatdet was arrested in 2017 after his deportation from Nairobi for allegedly subversive activities against the Juba administration.

Mr Endley, a retired South African army colonel and ex-adviser to Machar, was accused of providing military support to Dr. Machar

Machar returned to Juba for the first time in more than two years to take part in the ceremony.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who attended the ceremony, urged all the parties to the conflict to commit themselves to the implementation of the September peace agreement in letter and spirit.

A Moh Foundation report recently ranked South Sudan as the second worst governed state in Africa after Somalia.

South Sudan plunged to a civil war in 2013 when President Kiir accused Machar —then vice president— of plotting a coup against him.

Several peace accords have been signed but faltered immediately including the last one in 2016 that forced Machar to flee into exile.

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