South Sudan rebel leader calls on president to resign

2015-07-08 17:39
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir shakes hands with rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar after signing an agreement at the end of talks in Arusha. (File, AP)

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir shakes hands with rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar after signing an agreement at the end of talks in Arusha. (File, AP)

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Nairobi - A South Sudan rebel leader on Wednesday called on President Salva Kiir to resign along with all ministers and the parliament, or risk sparking a revolution.

Kiir's term in office and that of the legislature expires at midnight according to terms of the transitional constitution adopted in 2011, Riek Machar said.

If Kiir refuses to resign, citizens have the right to overthrow his government, Machar said.

Machar also asked the international community to withdraw its support for Kiir's government.

Machar's remarks come ahead of Thursday's independence day celebration, and throw the international backed mediation process between the two leaders into further disarray.

Machar said a three year extension of Kiir's term in office granted by parliament in March was the not legal because parliament did not have the right to amend the constitution.

Fighting broke out in the world's newest nation in December 2013 after Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of trying to oust him in a coup. That sparked months of ethnic attacks and the violence has continued despite several cease-fires.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also chairperson of the East African Community regional body, has attempted to mediate a peace deal between and Kiir and Machar, but those efforts appear to have flopped.

The UN Security Council last week imposed travel bans and asset freezes on six generals from both the government and rebel sides.

But the sanctions do not touch Kiir or Machar, former political allies who fell out amid a power struggle within South Sudan's ruling party.

After a decades-long fight for independence, South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan in 2011. It has been plagued by corruption, ethnic tension and a power struggle within the ruling party.

Read more on:    riek machar  |  salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  north africa

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