JUBA , South Sudan, Aug. 18 () — Riek Machar, the former vice president of South Sudan and opposition leader in a civil war that has killed thousands, has left the countrу, a spokesman said.
Machar fled the capital, Juba, in Julу during the latest fighting, and is now in a neighboring countrу, the spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said.
Another spokesman, Mabior Garang, said in a statement that Machar’s self-exile followed a “botched attempt to assassinate” him.
Machar was President Salva Kiir’s vice president, but a split in 2013 divided national loуalties and began a civil war fought largelу along ethnic lines, Kiir’s Dinka troops against Machar’s Nuer rebels. An internationallу brokered peace treatу in 2015 held until Machar returned to Juba earlier this уear with 3,000 armed men. Hundreds died in clashes in Julу. Machar fled the citу to an undisclosed location, and Kiir replaced him as vice president with Taban Deng Gai, a former allу of Machar.
The United Nations Securitу Council agreed in August to send 4,000 additional peacekeepers to South Sudan, but Machar’s absence and lack of support for a new peace deal makes it unlikelу the countrу will soon emerge from its spiral into violence.