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South Sudan president Kiir grants amnesty to rebel leader Machar, others

On Sunday Kiir, SPLM-IO leader Machar - the president’s former deputy - and other groups signed a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

In this file photo taken on 7 July 2018 President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir (R), shakes hands with opposition leader Riek Machar (L) during peace talks at Uganda's statehouse in Entebbe where they were received by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (C). Picture: AFP

JUBA - South Sudan President Salva Kiir granted amnesty to all those involved in the nation’s civil war including rebel leader Riek Machar, according to a television broadcast, days after they signed a peace deal.

On Sunday Kiir, SPLM-IO leader Machar - the president’s former deputy - and other groups signed a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The amnesty order was read out on state-run television late on Wednesday.

A political row between Kiir and Machar degenerated in 2013 into a war that has killed tens of thousands, forced a quarter of the population to flee their homes and wrecked the country’s oil-dependent economy.

The conflict has often been fought along ethnic lines. Previous peace deals have failed, including one in 2015 that briefly halted hostilities but fell apart after Machar returned to the capital Juba the following year.

SPLM-IO is the largest of the rebel groups fighting Kiir’s government, and fighters allied to it control several areas close to the capital.

Some of its generals broke off to form their own movements or to join Kiir’s government, and other anti-government groups have also emerged since the conflict erupted, some of which have fought against each other.

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