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South Sudanese minister replaces 'missing' Riek Machar as vice president

South Sudan

South Sudan’s Liberation Movement on Saturday nominated a minister Taban Deng Gai from their ranks to be first Vice President in place of Veep Riek Machar.

Deng Gai will serve until Machar returns from his unknown location.

According to Machar’s chief of staff, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth: “In the temporary absence of the first vice president of the Republic of South Sudan Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, we have nominated General Taban Deng Gai as a first vice president. Viva! Viva!”

“I think It is for peace hundred percent, all the Generals of the SPLM in opposition, all the citizens, all the population they support peace and they want to continue with the implementation of the peace agreement. They also know me that I can deliver. And as I’m saying, I’m just only filling a vacuum. If the man comes back, if Riek Machar comes back I will gladly step aside if that could bring peace to South Sudan,” newly appointed vice president of South Sudan, Taban Deng Gai said.

On Friday Machar asked for Deng Gai’s dismissal from the party of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, accusing him of having defected to President Salva Kiir’s faction.

Machar also asked President Kiir to relieve Gai from his position as Minister of Mining in the Transitional Government of National Unity, to which he was nominated.

Machar fled Juba a week ago in the wake of a deadly clash with forces loyal to President Salva Kiir in the capital. Nearly 300 people were killed.

The latter recently asked him to return to Juba to continue the implementation of a peace agreement signed in August 2015.

But Machar, whose relatives say he is still in “the vicinity” of Juba said that his security was not guaranteed.

The fighting in July coincided with the fifth anniversary of the independence of the country.

Sudan’s tensed environment is a worry in the sub region. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday said he met with president Salva Kiir at the State House in Entebbe where they discussed regional issues and the current situation in South Sudan.

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