Spokesman: South Sudan's Machar "Evacuated"
South Sudan rebel leader and former first vice president in the Transitional Government of National Unity, Riek Machar, will break his silence Thursday, a spokesman for the SPLM-IO movement told VOA Daybreak Africa.
Machar has been in hiding since early July following clashes between his supporters and government troops in the capital, Juba.
President Salva Kiir then sacked Machar as first vice president and replaced him with Taban Deng Gai, who was backed by a breakaway faction of Machar’s SPLM-IO movement.
Mabior Garang de Mabior, chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) National Committee for Information and Public Relations, told VOA that Machar has been “safely evacuated” to another country in East Africa and will hold a news conference. He said Machar’s whereabouts remain secret because the “enemies of peace” are still pursuing Machar, tracking his every move and phone communication.
The government has denied previous allegations that it has tried to assassinate Machar.
US: North Korean Plutonium Reprocessing Violates UN Resolutions
The United States expressed fresh concern about North Korea after Pyongyang indicated renewed nuclear activity that would allow it to churn out at least enough plutonium for one bomb annually.
The announcement, made by North Korea’s Atomic Energy Institute, in a written response to Japan’s Kyodo News agency, confirms what the intelligence community, academics and analysts have been asserting for months: Pyongyang has made good on its vow to resume activities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
“If these reports are correct, it is obviously a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, which prohibit such activities,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said in response to a VOA question.
The 5 megawatt reactor and other facilities at Yongbyon were shut down under an agreement reached in 2007 involving North Korea and five other countries: the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. The North vowed in 2013 to resume activities 90 kilometers north of the capital.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. body, had no immediate public reaction, but officials there noted the announcement comes as no surprise. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told reporters in June that the Yongbyon reactor had been restarted, either for enrichment or reprocessing.
The IAEA is to issue its annual report on North Korea’s nuclear activities in a few weeks, which will contain additional assessments of the reclusive state’s atomic activities.