Blow for South Sudan’s VP as key ally resigns

A key political ally of Riek Machar has resigned dealing a blow to the South Sudanese vice-president, who is facing leadership challenges from within his party.

Henry Dilah Odwar, Mr Machar’s deputy, is leaving the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) and his role in the unity government, set up to end a bitter civil war.

He gave no reason for his resignation, but it comes just over a week after three generals in the military wing of the SPLM-IO tried to remove Mr Machar.

The SPLM-IO leader has dismissed their attempt, saying those behind it were “peace spoilers”.

He maintains their true motive is to derail the unification of former rebel and government forces into a new national army, a key part of the 2018 peace agreement.

SPLM-IO spokesman Puok Both Baluang told the BBC that Mr Odwar had told Mr Machar he was stepping down because of health issues.

However, there are reports that he has joined the generals whose breakaway group is known as Kitgwang.

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