1 October 2013

South Sudan: Is Rebel Leader David Yau Yau Ready for Talks?

South Sudanese rebel leader David Yau Yau could be ready for talks with the government, a spokesman for former rebels who are helping to convince insurgents in South Sudan to lay down arms and take up an amnesty offer from President Salva Kiir, said.

Yau Yau, who as recently as May dismissed as a joke an offer from the government to hold peace talks, might be ready to negotiate an end to his rebellion if certain conditions are met, Gordon Buay said.

"Yau Yau told us that he wanted the government to declare a ceasefire. After the declaration of a ceasefire, we will send people from our side -- we, the former rebels who accepted the amnesty and the other people from the Murle elders and the government -- to go and meet him in a location that we will agree upon," Buay said.

Yau Yau accepted an amnesty offer from Kiir in 2011 and returned to Juba, where he was promoted to the rank of general in the South Sudanese army, the SPLA. But last year, he resumed his rebellion against the government.

When Kiir renewed the amnesty offer to all rebel groups in April, thousands of rebels laid down their arms. Hundreds more followed in June, but not Yau Yau.

More Rebels Take up Kiir Amnesty Offer

Meanwhile, last week, more South Sudanese rebels took up Kiir's amnesty offer, leaving the northern part of South Sudan free of anti-government insurgents, Buay said.

"They accepted the amnesty and, on September 28th, moved to northern Upper Nile... with 1,500 forces... which means that in the northern part of South Sudan, there are no more rebels," he said.

The rebels who surrendered last week were under the command of Ayuok Agot and Gordon Koang.

Army spokesperson Phillip Aguer said the numbers of rebels who had surrendered was much smaller than the figure put forward by Buay. Only around 200 rebel soldiers, all loyal to Ogot, turned themselves in, he said.

Rebels who surrender under the amnesty cannot be prosecuted.

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