South Sudan

Kiir: Riek Machar Plotted to Kill Me

Kiir speaking to Koinange in Juba on Wednesday

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has described his former First Vice president Dr Riek Machar as a ‘murderer’ and ‘traitor’ who deserves no place in Africa’s youngest nation.

Speaking during the popular television show Jeff Koinange Live on Wednesday evening at the Presidential palace, more about Kiir said his nemesis and a group of other people betrayed their cause when they joined the Khartoum government and fought their own country.

“Machar and other people went to Khartoum and made shortcut agreements they thought would bring peace to South Sudan and when this failed, they came back to us. We received him, ” Kiir said on Wednesday.

“We will definitely have peace in South Sudan but elements like Machar and the like should not be part of it.”

On the recent attack on the Presidential palace, the South Sudan president said he was engaged in a meeting with his then Vice President but little did he know that Machar was planning to kill him.

“Many people put the blame on me but it was a palace coup staged by Machar. He had intensions of killing me when he staged the coup. Dr Riek knew the attackers were his people,” the president revealed.

Murder plot

This was the first time Kiir was publicly disclosing an assassination attempt on his life by Dr Machar.

In early July, Machar’s elite commando unit attempted to force its way inside the presidential compound only to be defeated by Kiir’s presidential guard.

At least 300 bodyguards from both sides lost their lives in the heavy gunfire that shook the country’s centre of power and threatened to plunge the nation back into a civil war.

Currently, Machar is rallying troops in Equatoria to launch an offensive with the view of taking South Sudan’s Capital, Juba.

Speaking to Koinange, Kiir said he never harbored any plans to harm Machar.

“I didn’t lure Machar to kill him, otherwise I would have had my guns and I know how to use them but many people left the criminal and passed the blame on me,” he added.

Asked whether he wants Machar dead, Kiir said “death is too big for me to say because he was created with a purpose. Killing Machar is not my interest; I have peace in my mind.”

The South Sudan president said he is not fighting Machar but rather protecting the country from enemies adding the former First Vice President and himself were once comrades in arms.

Blasts IGAD

The South Sudan president reiterated his stand that he doesn’t need intervention in form of peace keeping forces from regional bodies like IGAD adding that there is no situation that needs deployment of such troops.

“There is no fighting in Juba. Who are they coming to protect the citizens from? We don’t need peace-keeping forces. The people in South Sudan are safe and I prefer my own troops to protect them,” he affirmed.

The African Union sitting in Kigali resolved that a protection force should be deployed in Juba to allow Machar’s return and pave way for general elections.

Taking a swipe at the regional body, Kiir  said IGAD is only interested in giving protection to his nemesis, Riek Machar  which he said could not be allowed to happen.

Kiir said he can only allow a battalion of 500 soldiers to guard Machar but not IGAD forces to enter the country in the name of peacekeeping.

The South Sudan president was asked whether he thinks of stepping down as leader of the country as one of the solutions to solve the problems.

Kiir said he had no reason to cling to power but warned that this could spark off genocide inside the country.

“This (presidency) is the loneliest job and it is like a voluntary prison. You lose friends and colleagues and you cannot move with all people you want. You can’t go to your favourite restaurant but rather eat only what is brought to you,” Kiir spoke of the challenges of being a president.

“I can step down as president but if I did it, you would hear of genocide in South Sudan,” he said.

The South Sudan war that broke out in 2013 has left thousands dead and many more displaced.

Machar has since fled the capital Juba to an unknown destination prompting Kiir to replace the First Vice President with Gen Taban Deng Gai.


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