William Endley, the former South African defence colonel, is back home from South Sudan after being pardoned by President Salva Kiir. Picture: Karen Sandison
Johannesburg - William Endley, the former South African defence colonel, is back home from South Sudan after being pardoned by President Salva Kiir last week after he was sentenced to death by hanging by a court in the capital Juba in February following his conviction on charges of espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Endley said he was enjoying drinking a cold beer and the freedom of being able to move around after being held in solitary confinement for long periods of time.

And despite his traumatic imprisonment, in what his family told the African News Agency (ANA) were appalling conditions, Endley said on Thursday he would have no problem returning to South Sudan if asked, adding that Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) had already requested him to return to help integrate rebels with the national army - the reason he said he went to the country in the first place.

He was arrested in August 2016 when renewed fighting between government troops and the SPLM-IO broke out after Machar had first returned from exile to take part in a transitional unity government. 

His defence argued against the charges stating that Endley was only performing his duties as a security contractor to help Machar's forces integrate into the South Sudanese Army.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but plunged into a civil war in 2013 after Kiir accused Machar - then vice president - of plotting a coup against him.

The five-year civil war has killed an estimated 380 000 people and left nearly two and a-half million others displaced.

African News Agency (ANA)