South African Defense Force retired colonel, Will Endley, who was released from South Sudan on Friday morning, immediately took the next flights back to his country.
Endley worked as the military strategist for South Sudan armed opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar before the latter fled capital Juba in July 2016.
President Salva Kiir pardoned Col. Endley and Machar’s political spokesman, James Gatdet from death row on Wednesday last week during the peace celebrations in capital Juba. Their release was only able to be finalized on Friday since Thursday became a public holiday declared by Kiir.
The retired colonel flew to his home town, Johannesburg on Friday night and was received by close family members including; Charmaine Endley Walker, the sister who incessantly campaigned for his release for the last two years.
Charmaine posted her reaction on social media when the brother arrived on Saturday early morning from Khartoum.
“With tears of Joy, we welcomed my brother back in the early hours of the morning. Emotions overflowing, we all haven’t slept,” said Charmaine.
Endley was captured together with some of the aides of Machar and detained in the notorious Blue House manned by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NSIS).
He together with Gatdet, were sentenced to death by Juba High Court on charges of treason and conspiracy against the government of President Salva Kiir.
South African government welcomed the development and mainly appreciated President Kiir.
“We extend our gratitude to President Kiir to release one of our own to once again spend time with his family,” said Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu.