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UPDATE 1-South Sudan rebel leader Machar returns to mark peace deal

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the capital Juba on Wednesday to seal a peace deal more than two years after he fled the country following the collapse of an earlier accord.

Machar, the former vice president, got off a plane and walked to a car with his wife Angelina. Soon after other aircraft arrived, carrying the presidents of Sudan and Ethiopia - states that helped broker the agreement earlier this year.

Machar's office said he would attend peace celebrations hosted by his longtime rival, President Salva Kiir.

The world's youngest nation plunged into civil war in late 2013 when troops loyal to Kiir clashed with forces loyal to Machar in the city.

Ethnically charged fighting soon spread across the impoverished state, shutting down oil fields, forcing millions to flee and killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Machar fled to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 after fierce fighting broke out again in the capital, killing hundreds. He later travelled to South Africa, where he was held under house arrest until earlier this year.

Under pressure from governments in East Africa and from United Nations and Western donors, Machar's group, other rebel factions and the government last month signed a peace deal, under which he will again become vice president.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of north-south war fueled by oil, ethnicity and religion. (Reporting by Denis Dumo; Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Maggie Fick and Andrew Heavens)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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