Middle East

South Sudan rebel leader flees country

  • FILE--- In this file photo of Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar.  Sudan's rebel leader Machar  has fled the country, a spokesman for his party said Thursday Aug. 18. 2016 . The former First Vice President Riek Machar has gone to a safe country in the neighboring East African region, Mabior Garang, a spokesperson for the SPLM-IO party, said in a posting on Facebook..(Photo/Mulugeta Ayene-file)

    FILE--- In this file photo of Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar. Sudan's rebel leader Machar has fled the country, a spokesman for his party said Thursday Aug. 18. 2016 . The former First Vice President Riek Machar has gone to a safe country in the neighboring East African region, Mabior Garang, a spokesperson for the SPLM-IO party, said in a posting on Facebook..(Photo/Mulugeta Ayene-file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE--- In this file photo of Wednesday, Oct.13, 2010, Dr. Riek Machar, Vice President of the Government of South Sudan, presides over an all-southern-parties meeting in Juba, SudanSouth.  Sudan's rebel leader Machar  has fled the country, a spokesman for his party said Thursday Aug. 18. 2016 . The former First Vice President Riek Machar has gone to a safe country in the neighboring East African region, Mabior Garang, a spokesperson for the SPLM-IO party, said in a posting on Facebook.(AP Photo/Pete Muller-file)

    FILE--- In this file photo of Wednesday, Oct.13, 2010, Dr. Riek Machar, Vice President of the Government of South Sudan, presides over an all-southern-parties meeting in Juba, SudanSouth. Sudan's rebel leader Machar has fled the country, a spokesman for his party said Thursday Aug. 18. 2016 . The former First Vice President Riek Machar has gone to a safe country in the neighboring East African region, Mabior Garang, a spokesperson for the SPLM-IO party, said in a posting on Facebook.(AP Photo/Pete Muller-file)  (The Associated Press)

A spokesman for South Sudan's opposition and rebel group says that their leader Riek Machar has fled the country.

Mabior Garang of the SPLM-IO said Thursday that Machar had gone to a safe country within the region.

After clashes with President Salva Kiir's army in the capital of Juba on July 8th, Machar and rebel forces left the city, putting the country's peace deal in limbo. Hundreds of civilians died in the July fighting.

Last week, the U.N. voted to send 4,000 regional peacekeepers to Juba. The government has not yet accepted the force, and Machar said he will not return to the capital until it is deployed.

In July, Machar was removed as South Sudan's first vice president after a disputed change of leadership in his party.