Armed opposition names replacement for vice president
A senior faction of South Sudan’s armed opposition has moved to replace its leader, First Vice President Riek Machar, who went into hiding this month for fear of being killed by supporters of his longtime rival, President Salva Kiir.
The push to replace Machar surfaced after he failed to heed a 48-hour ultimatum from the president to return to the capital, Juba.
Kiir demanded the vice president’s return, in his words, to “continue building and promoting peace” in the aftermath of fighting this month between Kiir loyalists and troops backing Machar.
Combat in Juba between the rival militias killed at least 300 people and wounded hundreds of others July 8-11.
A rebel spokesman said that senior opposition fighters were shifting their allegiance to another government official, Mining Minister Taban Deng Gai. He said Deng would act as first vice president until Machar’s return.