Rumours of the death of South Sudanese president have been dispelled by the presidency on Wednesday and a subsequent tour of the capital Juba by Salva Kiir.
The presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny spoke on state radio that the president is alive and healthy after widely shared social media posts on Tuesday that claimed he had died.
“The information which came few hours ago, in various social media that President Salva Kiir has died is yet another wishful thinking. I would like to inform our citizens to ignore such rumour mongering and remain focused on their normal duties,” Ateny advised.
The information which came few hours ago, in various social media that President Salva Kiir has died is yet another wishful thinking. I would like to inform our citizens to ignore such rumour mongering.
“President Salva Kiir is healthy and is going about his duties normally. He was in his Office today until 3:00 pm and had not complained about his health,” he stressed.
The verbal confirmation was not enough for Salva Kiir who organised his aides and toured the streets of Juba behind a pickup truck while waving at cheering crowds on the sidewalks.
Meanwhile, former First Vice President of the country, Riek Machar left Sudan on same day Wednesday for South Africa to seek medical attention.
“Yes, Dr. Riek Machar has arrived in South Africa today (Wednesday). He will be there to undergo further treatment for a number of days,” his spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak confirmed to local newspaper Sudan Tribune.
He also dismissed allegations that Machar will be seeking political asylum in South Africa, saying it was a false rumour.
The former rebel leader Riek Machar last month called for an armed struggle against President Salva Kiir’s government which they accuse of attacking Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) positions.
His call received heavy criticism from international bodies and neighbouring Sudan where he is staying on humanitarian grounds.
Riek Machar fled Juba following clashes between his SPLM-IO forces and Salva Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in July.