South Sudan Says It Expects Rebel Leader in Capital Early April

A group of South Sudanese rebels arrived in the capital, Juba, starting a process that will lead to insurgent leader Riek Machar’s return to participate in a transitional government next week, an official said.

The arrival of 39 rebels marked an important step in implementing an agreement to end more than two years of civil war, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters Monday at Juba’s airport.

“By the end of the week, I hope that the required number that should report to Juba will be here and thereafter we expect the arrival of Dr. Riek Machar, the first vice president designate, by next week,” Lueth said.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million have fled their homes since conflict erupted in oil-producing South Sudan in December 2013. President Salva Kiir and Machar in August signed a peace deal that committed them to a transitional administration. The accord has faced repeated delays and outbreaks of violence have continued.