African leaders to attend peace celebrations in South Sudan

South Sudan confirmed on Tuesday that at least four African leaders will attend the much-anticipated peace celebrations slated for Wednesday in Juba.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information, told journalists in Juba that the leaders from the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have confirmed they will attend the peace celebrations to mark the end of the more than four years of conflict.

He said President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed and Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde will attend the fete.

He disclosed that other dignitaries will include Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as delegations from Nigeria and South Africa.

Makuei said they had expected several African Heads of States and Government but conceded that this has not been possible due to the ongoing meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel with some African presidents in Germany under a forum to encourage private investment in Africa.

Meanwhile, rebel leader Riek Machar who signed a final peace agreement with President Salva Kiir in September in Ethiopia will also be attending the peace celebrations after more than two years in exile.

Machar fled Juba in the wake of renewed violence in July 2016 and he is expected to return to his former post of First Vice President.

South Sudan descended into civil war in July 2013 and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

Source: Xinhua