The Governor of South Sudan's Jonglei state has admitted a reduction in areas previously controlled by rebels loyal to renegade David Yau Yau.
Kuol Manyang, told journalists upon returning from Pibor County that the security situation was calm, after nearly three months of instability. He also held talks with chiefs and elders, during which he urged them to convince area youth to abandon the rebellion.
"I went there to see the situation and talk to the people and I found the security situation is under the SPLA [Sudan People's Liberation Army] control," Manyang told reporters at Bor airport on 2 November.
He said Yau Yau and his forces have abandoned most of the areas they previously occupied and instead moved north of Likuangole, as the South Sudan army continues to monitor their movement.
The Governor, however, urged the population to convey messages that will convince rebel fighters to abandon the rebellion, which he said, has "no cause", but remains detrimental to development and the provision of social and economic services to the people.
Manyang further said he remains optimistic that the rebellion, which has destabilized Jonglei for months, will not survive beyond February 2013, pledging the army's commitment to end the insurgency.
"He [Yau Yau] is a civilian, and he will have no constant supply of arms and ammunitions. How can such a man face the national army for long?" he asked.
DISARMAMENT NOT SUSPENDED
Meanwhile, the Governor has dismissed media reports that state authorities had suspended the ongoing disarmament exercise in Pibor, to allegedly focus attention on the rebellion in the area.
"It is [the] army to give me the report that there are no more guns in the hands of the civil populations, then I will take this report [to the] president, who will then announce the end of disarmament. Nobody else will stop it for any reason," he told reporters.
Manyang, however, said the disarmament was halted in May due to heavy rains that made it difficult for the forces to move, but said it will resume next month when the dry season starts.
In a separate interview, Kuol Deim Kuol, the SPLA officer in-charge of the disarmament said news on suspension was "propaganda coined up by those who are against SPLA."
"How come that I did not know the suspension of disarmament in Jonglei and I am the one leading the forces here? It is not true," he told Sudan Tribune.