South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has replaced his vice president and rival Riek Machar following a sharp surge in violence between the government and opposition fighters in the five-year-old country. The move to replace Machar on Monday could potentially undermine last year’s peace deal and reignite war in Africa’s youngest nation.
According to a decree “for the appointment of the first vice president of the republic of South Sudan”, read on the country’s national broadcaster, Kiir said he had appointed General Taban Deng to the post. South Sudan was founded with optimistic celebrations in the capital on July 9, 2011, after it gained independence from Sudan in a referendum that passed with nearly 100 percent of the vote.
Machar fled the capital, Juba, last week after a new outbreak of violence threatened to send South Sudan back to all-out civil war. On Thursday, Machar was given a Saturday afternoon deadline by Kiir to return to Juba and work together towards rebuilding peace – the two had signed a peace agreement late last year under which Machar was once again made vice president. Read more