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Rebel leader sworn in as first vice president in South Sudan

South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar (C) addresses a press conference jointly with South Sudan President Salva Kiir (L) after they met at the State House in Juba, South Sudan, , where they confirmed that they had agreed to a joint government, on February 20, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar has been sworn in for the third time as first vice president of the country.

Machar on Saturday formally rejoined the government in the latest bid to bring peace to the country ravaged by war.

President Salva Kiir hailed the “official ending of war” with the swearing-in of Machar. He said peace was now “irreversible” as the new unity government was formed after more than a year of delays following a September 2018 peace deal.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after years of civil war.

In July 2011, Machar was appointed first vice president of the new republic led by President Kiir. In February 2013, Machar publicly announced his intention to challenge President Kiir, and in July that year, he and his entire cabinet were dismissed from office. In late August 2015, Machar became vice president again after the two sides made peace.

However, after renewed fighting broke out the next year between Kiir’s and Machar’s loyalists, he was forced to flee the country.

A new power-sharing agreement was reached between the two sides in September 2018.

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