f2eadeff3d884e9d9a8c4f9291a08260_18South Sudan’s former vice president and opposition leader Riek Machar « is in the care » of the authorities in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations has said, several weeks after he withdrew from the capital Juba during fierce fighting with government troops.

The news on 18 August 2016 came after a statement by the leadership of the SPLA opposition party said Machar had left South Sudan on 17 August 20016 to a « safe country within the region » without specifying which one.

« We were aware yesterday of the presence of Riek Machar in DRC, » UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Earlier on 18 August 2016, a Machar aide told the AFP news agency that the former Vice-President was in Kinshasa and wanted « to go as soon as possible to Ethiopia ».

Machar led a two-year rebellion against forces loyal to his long-time rival President Salva Kiir before the two sides reached a peace deal in August 2015. Under the deal, Machar returned to Juba in April to resume his role as vice president.

But fighting flared last month, leading Machar to withdraw with his forces from Juba around mid-July.

With Al Jazeera