NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – Dr Riek Machar on Monday appealed to African leaders to ensure he gets back his vice president’s position and assure him of his safety upon his return to Juba.
He warned if this fails, he will ask his troops to forcibly capture Juba and evict President Salva Kiir.
In an exclusive interview with Capital FM News in Nairobi, Machar’s Spokesman James Gatdet said a force from the region should be deployed to Juba to protect Machar and his leadership.
“What he wants is to come back to Juba. But first a third party force should be deployed to guarantee his protection; protection of his officials and citizens. The force should take charge in Juba, so that he could resume and continue the implementation of the peace agreement,” he explained.
“If the regional force or third force is not going to be deployed soon to stop Kiir’s forces from going on offensive against Machar’s forces in the bushes around Juba, then we will be forced to move on Juba and take control so that we dismantle the source of such orders to attack,” he explained.
“The other option is to remove President Kiir because he has been a failure.”
According to Gatdet, Kiir’s army was losing its grip as Machar’s army moved closer to the capital forcing his top commanders to stop the fighting.
“He has been on the offensive trying to locate Machar trying to kill him. But he fails because his forces have been defeated. We will reach Juba as he is losing… he has been on offensive but he has been losing.”
Dismissing rumours that Machar was shot dead on Sunday night, Gatdet said he had gone into hiding after Kiir authorised his soldiers to kill him.
“They are trying to locate and kill him. They are desperate people. They kill him in their dreams at night, but he is very well and sound,” he said.
He said it was not the first time that Kiir had attempted to kill Machar.
Previous attempt to kill Machar, Gatdet explained was on July 8 when fighting erupted outside the Presidential palace leaving 272 people dead.
“They wanted to eliminate him, what failed at the palace in July is what they want to achieve now. Kiir’s bodyguards started shooting at the bodyguards of Machar. They wanted to scare Machar to run away from the palace so that the forces deployed on the streets could kill Machar and Kiir would have claimed he was killed in the cross fire and he didn’t know what was happening outside the palace,” Gatdet opined.
In a past interview, Kiir alleged that Machar had carried a gun to the palace with intentions to assassinate him or plot a coup.