William John Endley, a South African national and an adviser to South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar, sits in the dock, in the High Court in Juba, South Sudan on February 23 2018. He has been sentenced to death by hanging. Picture: REUTERS/SAMIR BOL
William John Endley, a South African national and an adviser to South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar, sits in the dock, in the High Court in Juba, South Sudan on February 23 2018. He has been sentenced to death by hanging. Picture: REUTERS/SAMIR BOL

Juba — A former South African soldier was sentenced to death in South Sudan on Friday for attempting to overthrow the government.

Former colonel William Endley was "sentenced to death by hanging" for espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government, said judge Lado Eriminio Sekwat, at a court in the capital Juba.

Endley, who can appeal against the ruling, was also sentenced to nine years and four months in prison for other related crimes, which must be served before his execution.

The South African was hired in 2016 to advise former vice-president and rebel leader Riek Machar on the planned integration of rebel forces into the national army under the then peace deal.

Weeks after the peace agreement collapsed during days of heavy fighting that rocked the capital in July 2016, Endley was arrested.

He was charged along with rebel group spokesperson James Gatdet Dak, who was sentenced to death by the same court on February 12 for treason.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011, but a little more than two years later, civil war broke out over a dispute between Machar and President Salva Kiir.

Tens of thousands have since died while four-million people have been forced from their homes as successive peace talks have failed.

AFP

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