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South Sudan rivals strike unity deal

Former South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar has been sworn in as first vice-president, sealing a peace deal aimed at ending six years of civil war.

President Salva Kiir witnessed the moment at a ceremony at the State House in the capital, Juba.

It is hoped that the new unity government will bring an end to the conflict that has killed about 400,000 people and displaced millions.

However, previous deals were widely heralded only to fall apart.

Saturday’s ceremony took place just before the deadline for an agreement expired.

“For the people of South Sudan, I want to assure you that we will work together to end your suffering,” Machar said after taking the oath.

He then embraced and shook hands with Kiir.

“We must forgive one another and reconcile,” Kiir said. “I also appeal to the people of Dinka and Nuer (rival ethnic groups) to forgive one another.”

Also present at the ceremony was the leader of Sudan, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Three other vice-presidents were also sworn in including Rebecca Garang, the widow of South Sudan’s founding father, John Garang.

Under the agreement, the current cabinet has been dissolved to make way for more opposition members.

The deal was supposed to have been finalised by May 2019 but was postponed twice—the latest deadline being February 22.—BBC

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