South Sudan swears in new vice president as incumbent still missing

Riek Machar

The South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir, on Tuesday in Juba swore in opposition leader, Taban Deng, as his Vice President to replace Riek Machar.

Mr. Machar’s whereabouts have been unknown ever since his Juba residence was attacked earlier this month.

The swearing in came less than 24 hours after dismissing Riek Machar, the man who held the office until he went missing earlier this month.

The opposition spokesman, William Ezekiel, said shortly after the swearing-in ceremony that there was no immediate reaction from Machar.

Deng was until recently the Country’s Mining Minister and also the opposition’s Chief Negotiator in difficult, months-long peace talks with government.

Meanwhile, the opposition said Deng is meant to step aside from the vice presidency once Machar returns to the capital.

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A fresh outbreak of violence between soldiers and opposition supporters erupted across the country just as South Sudan marked the fifth anniversary of its independence from Sudan on July 9.

The clashes dealt a blow to hopes of peace that had grown after Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement last year and formed a national unity government in April, which saw Machar appointed as vice president.

A power struggle between Kiir and Machar escalated into a military conflict in December 2013, killing tens of thousands and displacing more than 2 million people. (dpa/NAN)

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