Written by Lauren La Rose, CNN
More than 20 years after taking power in a coup, Sudan’s Prime Minister Riek Machar has returned to the country.
Machar was part of a new government which came to power when he was appointed president in 2010. But his tenure was cut short when his term was not renewed in 2015.
It was then that demonstrators took to the streets and toppled the regime.
Sudan’s new President El-Bashir addresses a crowd in Khartoum on April 24, 2018. El-Bashir blames the coup on the West and demands that the International Criminal Court (ICC) end proceedings against him. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Machar was subsequently ousted and joined an opposition movement, which then launched armed clashes with government forces. The clashes had taken the lives of thousands of civilians and left more than a million people displaced.
This week, however, Machar was welcomed by members of his former government when he returned to Khartoum from South Africa.
Sudan’s new president El-Bashir addresses a crowd in Khartoum on April 24, 2018. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
It wasn’t the first time Machar had returned to the country in recent months. In February, he entered Khartoum in a similar “secretive” manner.
Machar was accompanied on his trip by former lawmaker, intellectual and academic Al-Bashir Omer, known as “The Truth Squad.” Together, the pair had returned from South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, to meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour, following President Omar al-Bashir’s return from a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia.
According to a statement issued by the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ministry was convinced that the visit was “coherent with Sudan’s position on the referendum and resolution of the issues between the two sides” during a June 2015 agreement signed by the two sides.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir addresses a crowd in Khartoum on April 24, 2018. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
It isn’t clear what has happened to Machar’s post in the new regime since he arrived in Khartoum. However, last week, Sudan’s new leader gave two of his cabinet posts to Bashir’s first cousins, who are his brothers.
“We came from South Africa with a message from Sudanese people to the president of Sudan and the foreign minister of Sudan for the referendum process and for resolution of the outstanding issues,” the brother’s, Emmanuel Ghandour told reporters after his appointment.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Riek Machar, who has returned to Khartoum after an absence of almost two years, listens to the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour at the Sudanese presidential palace in Khartoum, Sudan, May 22, 2018. Credit: Jacob Bouys/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
According to the new Prime Minister, Machar will hold talks “with the issues in the referendum program and their solution.”
The group of former opposition MPs left their positions in the parliament and won seats in a recent election after the government allowed the opposition to run as independents.
The two men who ousted Machar in 2015 were among those who run as independents. The Islamists in the ruling party also won a majority in the parliament.