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JUBA, South Sudan – South Sudan's rebels are taking positions in the country's capital, Juba, to prepare for the scheduled return of their leader later this month after over two years of war.
They have set up camp in two designated sites in Juba as part of process to secure the city for Riek Machar's return and eventually reintegrate into the split army. Rebel general James Koang, who is overseeing the process, met with reporters today.
"We are coming for peace," said Khor Dabuol, a high school teacher who joined the rebellion after the war began. "We stayed all years in the bush, waiting, wanting food, so we come here now we are very happy."
Over 1,300 rebel soldiers and more than 3,000 government troops will deploy in the city, according to a peace deal signed between Machar and President Salva Kiir last year that installs the rebel leader as vice president.
Despite progress in Juba, Koang accused the government of violating the ceasefire in Western Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria states recently.
Tens of thousands died in the war which began in Juba after fighting erupted between soldiers allied to Kiir and Machar and spread throughout the country.