Mystery surrounds location of South Sudan's Riek Machar after fighting

President Salva Kirr urged the country’s deputy leader to return to his premises in Juba, where his security will be guaranteed

South Sudan’s presidency urged the country’s deputy leader to return to the government after fighting in the capital killed hundreds of people, forced his fighters to flee and stoked fears of a revival of all-out civil war.

Vice President Riek Machar should return to his premises in Juba, where his security will be guaranteed, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said by phone from the city. Members of Machar’s group that remain in Juba after five days of violence that erupted July 7 haven’t heard from him but are still committed to a peace deal and transitional government, William Ezekiel, a spokesman for the delegation, said by phone.

Troop resistance

Earlier this week, Kirr said would  resist plans by neighboring countries to deploy a regional force in the wake of renewed violence in the oil-producing nation, its defense minister said.

The warning comes after East African leaders agreed to send troops to South Sudan to boost the United Nations mission and protect civilians. The deployment of more regional soldiers will be a violation of the war-torn nation’s sovereignty and the decision was made without proper knowledge of the security situation, Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk said.

“If that occupation actually happens, it will need resistance,” Juuk said. “We will see relationships destroyed and above all when this is done in South Sudan, it is bound to be done in other countries.”

Machar and President Salva Kiir formed the transitional administration in late April, seeking to end more than two years of civil war that’s left tens of thousands of people dead. The renewed fighting between forces loyal to the two leaders claimed at least 270 lives and threw the agreement into turmoil.

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