First Vice President, Riek Machar welcomes Ethiopian community to his residence

Juba, June 26, 2016 (GMN) – A number of Ethiopian citizens who reside in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, have paid a visit to the First Vice President, Riek Machar, at his Jebel Kujur makeshift residence on Saturday to congratulate him on the August 2015 peace agreement reached in the country.

Ethiopia hosted the peace process on South Sudan in its capital, Addis Ababa, for two years during which its former foreign affairs minister, Seyoum Mesfin, was the chief mediator in the process which ended 21 months of civil war in South Sudan.

Thousands of Ethiopians are believed to be doing businesses in South Sudan with a huge number of them residing in Juba.

Over 500 Ethiopian citizens also fled to the Protection of Civilians (POC) sites of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) due to the endless insecurity in Juba and have been sheltering there together with other South Sudanese, mainly from the Nuer ethnic group, who sought refuge in the camp since the war broke out in December 2013.

Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, said the Ethiopian community members congratulated the First Vice President, Machar, on the peace agreement he signed with President Salva Kiir.

“Ethiopian community members in Juba, some from the PoC camp, visited the First Vice President, His Excellency, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, on Saturday, June 25, 2016,” said Dak.

“They congratulated him on the August 2015 peace agreement and on taking up the position as the country’s First Vice President. They also congratulated him on his vision for South Sudan and his determination to restore peace, stability and prosperity to the country,” Dak continued on his Facebook page.

Ethiopia has been hosting South Sudanese refugees for over 40 years since formation of Anya-nya Two in Bilpam in Ethiopia in 1975 before the emergence of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA) which also took over Bilpam from Anya-nya Two in 1983.

Highly populated refugee camps in Ethiopia such as Itang, Finyudo and Dimma were hosting hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees during the 21 years of war with Khartoum which ended in 2005.

Currently, over 500,000 South Sudanese refugees, mainly from the Nuer ethnic group who fled the country due to the recent civil war of 2013, are being hosted in refugee camps in the Ethiopian western region of Gambella.

Ethiopians in Juba run businesses including owning big hotels, but have been complaining of the insecurity coupled with economic meltdown in the country which has caused their businesses to slow down.