South Africa has reportedly offered to host South Sudan’s deposed vice president Riek Machar, a leading newspaper in Kenya reports. The former leader was replaced by Taban Deng Gai after he fled South Sudan’s capital Juba in July, just four months after he returned, in a peace deal that saw the formation of a transitional unity government.
Forces loyal to President Kiir and those loyal to Machar clashed in Juba in July just outside the presidential palace where the two leaders were held up in a meeting.
The 5-day clashes killed close to 300 people and forced thousands others to flee to neighbouring countries.
Having fled the country, Machar is now in Sudan’s capital Khartoum.
Kenya’s presidential spokesperson Manoah Esipisu revealed that South Africa had offered to host him, though there are still other options being looked into.
“Following the Igad meeting in Mogadishu, Somalia, last week, there are a series of follow-up sessions that His Excellency (Uhuru Kenyatta) needs to personally attend to, given that Kenya is a senior player in the region alongside Ethiopia,” Esipisu said.
“There is the delicate issue of where Riek Machar should be placed. Currently he is holed up in Khartoum but there are ongoing deliberations, and very delicate ones for that matter, on where he should be eventually resettled.
“As you know, South Africa has agreed to take him in but there is a feeling that other options be looked into. That is why it was felt that His Excellency’s involvement in these matters is very essential.
Esipisu was addressing journalists following President Kenyatta’s failure to travel to Canada and the United States for crucial international meetings