War in the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, may be drawing to a close, as rival leader and former vice president Riek Machar has returned to Juba to be sworn into office once again by President Salva Kiir.
Machar is to return to his post of vice president more than two years after a scuffle in the presidential building led to a splintering of the countries alliances. Political lines were largely drawn between the countries two largest tribal groups — Dinka and Nuer. Kiir is Dinka and Machar in Nuer.
Since December 2013, tens of thousands of South Sudanese have died — some in territorial military battles and others for nonpolitical reasons. The United Nations and other groups, which have provided assistance in the form of safe compounds, food, medicine, and protection, have struggled to keep track of the number of other atrocities committed in the lawless state.
Negotiations have been constantly urged by the U.N., the East African trade group EGAD, the United States, and other interested parties, all of which have tried to work towards peace, but agreements were regularly thwarted by irreconcilable disagreements, despite repeated claims by both sides that their foremost goal was peace for South Sudan.
Machar flew into Juba from neighboring Ethiopia April 26, one week after he was originally scheduled to arrive. Last minute negotiations about the manpower and weapons Machar would be allowed to bring with him delayed the trip.
Upon landing in the capital, Machar proceeded immediately to the presidential palace, where he is expected to be sworn into office in the near future.