South Sudan rebels ready to take capital, leader says

According to the country’s deposed Vice President Riek Machar in an interview with Anadolu Agency, rebel fighters will enter South Sudanese capital Juba unless peacekeeping forces are sent,

Machar is the leader of rebels who fought a two-year civil war against government forces under President Salva Kiir. He was rehabilitated into the government in April following a peace deal that broke down three weeks ago, leading to hundreds of deaths.

“My troops are ready to storm the capital Juba and take control,” Machar said.

Since the renewed violence between Machar’s fighters and government troops, Machar has been in hiding. “I went out of sight when I learned that the goal was to eliminate me,” he said in a telephone interview.

The deteriorating security situation in South Sudan has led to calls for a larger international force to be sent to reinforce existing peacekeepers. Such calls have been resisted by the government.

On Monday, Kiir replaced Machar as first vice president, a position he held in a unity government following his return to Juba.

The fresh fighting has seen at least 300 people killed and thousands fleeing to neighboring states.