By Elias Meseret | DireTube
South Sudan's rebel leader and former vice president, Riek Machar, has fled his country and is expected to emerge after weeks in hiding to speak to the press, a spokesman said on Thursday, as the United Nations announced it had assisted him on part of his journey.
The U.N. involvement is likely to further anger the South Sudanese government that has accused the world body of interfering in its affairs after renewed fighting last month veered the country back toward civil war.
Riek Machar crossed the border into neighboring Congo and was airlifted to the capital, Kinshasa, spokesman Mabior Garang said, adding that he was planning to travel to Ethiopia soon. In a Facebook post, the spokesman said Machar left South Sudan after a "botched attempt to assassinate" him. The U.N. indicated that Machar had been in danger.
It said it learned Wednesday that Machar was in Congo, near the South Sudan border, and arranged on humanitarian grounds for the U.N. peacekeeping force there to airlift him, his wife and 10 others, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
He wouldn't say where they were Thursday, only that they had been handed over to Congolese authorities. "We have been providing him with whatever medical assistance he needs," Haq said, without giving details. "He needed to be moved safely from one spot to another," he added.
A South Sudan presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, said President Salva Kiir had no reaction to the U.N. helping Machar.