The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has freed SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar from travel restrictions since 2016.

Machar is now free to move around the region.

Machar, an influential figure in South Sudan’s politics and leader of the SPLM-IO, has been under a regional detention, described by the SPLM-IO as illegal, since late 2016 following the collapse of the 2015 peace deal after a fighting between a handful bodyguards of Machar and a huge force belonging to President Salva Kiir Mayardit in July 2015.

IGAD, the regional bloc that mediated the revitalized peace agreement, had hoped that Machar’s detention, which initially began from South Africa, Khartoum and then Juba, would help end the war that has killed at least half a million people and displaced millions of the world’s youngest country’s citizens to neighboring countries and to internal camps.

While in Juba, the SPLM-IO has kept calling for Machar’s release, but the regional body has – on the other hand – kept referring the case from each summit to another since then and the calls for Machar’s release have grown, especially following his return to Juba to take up his previous job as First Vice President.