News / Africa

Hopes for Peaceful Referendum as Southern Sudan Signs Ceasefire With Athor’s Militia

The army of southern Sudan Wednesday signed a ceasefire agreement with the militia loyal to renegade General George Athor.  The hope is that the agreement will reduce the threat of violence interrupting the referendum in Athor’s base of Jonglei State.  However, Athor himself was not present at the signing ceremony, raising questions about how effective the ceasefire will actually be.

Athor, a former senior officer in the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) took up arms against the authorities of the semi-autonomous southern Sudan following allegations of fraud and rigging during gubernatorial elections in Jonglei State last April.

Senior SPLA officer Michael Majur spoke on behalf of the army, and offered words of praise for Athor for his role in reaching the ceasefire.

“I am really very grateful about George Athor for his tireless effort to make this ceasefire agreement to be a success, without his tireless effort we would not have reached this agreement,” he said. “And I would like to thank him wherever he is right now and we wish in the coming few days we will be together and shall be doing the rest of work that is ahead of us, because we have a lot of work to do.”

Athor is currently believed to be holed up in remote Jonglei state.

Kual Manyang Juuk, who defeated Athor to become governor of Jonglei State, told VOA that he does not know whether the ceasefire will hold.

“I have not been in contact with George Athor because I don’t even know where he is and I don’t even have his telephone and he has not even called me,” he said.

Listen to John Tanza's full interview with Kual Manyang Juuk

Abraham Thon Chon, a senior member of Athor’s militia, signed the ceasefire agreement on Athor’s behalf, assuring attendees that the agreement represented a true reconciliation.

“We want to assure the people in the world, that we are responsible to take this task to solve our own problems, to establish peace in south Sudan,” he said.  “We want to assure the population, the citizens of southern Sudan because we are one army under the leadership of Salva Kiir Mayardit.”

Athor’s forces have killed scores of SPLA troops since he rebelled against the south's government and displaced hundreds of civilians.  He recently accused senior government leaders from his region of hindering efforts to reconcile with southern Sudanese authorities before the referendum.

Salva Kiir, president of the government of southern Sudan, offered in October to pardon Athor, and both sides had agreed to keep out of each other's way until negotiations were concluded. Two weeks ago, the southern army accused Athor's forces of laying an ambush for them that killed 20 soldiers and wounded 50 others.

Additional reporting by John Tanza

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid