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April 30, 2013

Yau Yau Rebels Shun South Sudan Amnesty

by Manyang David Mayar

An attack on Pibor town by some 200 insurgents led by David Yau Yau has left one South Sudan army (SPLA) soldier and two rebels dead, officials said Tuesday.

The attack, which took place on Monday, followed another raid by Yau Yau's forces on an SPLA base in rural Murua on Sunday.

No one was killed in that attack, which came days after South Sudan President Salva Kiir offered amnesty to six rebel groups, including Yau Yau's, who have been fighting the government.

At least 1,000 fighters for the South Sudan Liberation Movement, the largest active rebel group in South Sudan, began surrendering their weapons last week, but Yau Yau's rebels have not officially responded to Kiir's amnesty offer.

SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer said the attack on Pibor made it clear that Yau Yau was not going to accept Kiir's offer of amnesty.

"This will never benefit either Yau Yau himself or the people of Pibor," Aguer said.

"Those who are accepting amnesty will be welcome to join their brothers in building peace and stability of South Sudan and those who continue to disturb the stability of the people of South Sudan and lay ambushes on the road, the SPLA will deal with them."

Jonglei state Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk called on Yau Yau to surrender, for the good of the people of Pibor.

"War is not good. The people in Pibor have suffered a lot because of this war. So, I hope David Yau Yau will respond for the people to live in peace and for development to reach the people in Pibor," he said.

Yau Yau first rebelled against the government in 2010 after failing to win a seat in the state parliament.

In 2011 he accepted an earlier offer of amnesty from Kiir and returned to Juba where he was promoted to the rank of general in the SPLA.

But last year, he resumed his rebellion against Juba.

Juba has accused Khartoum of backing Yau Yau's rebellion -- accusations that Sudan has repeatedly denied.

The South Sudanese government earlier this year tried to engage Yau Yau in peace talks, but when their effort came to naught, they vowed to defeat the rebel group militarily before the end of the dry season.