JUBA — A South Sudanese lawmaker has urged President Salva Kiir to withdraw an amnesty offer made to rebel leader David Yau Yau, saying that the only hope for peace in Jonglei state is for Yau Yau to be captured and brought to justice.
"He was offered amnesty since last year and he refused the offer and he chose to fight. So we feel that the amnesty must be withdrawn from him and he should be made accountable," Deng Dau Deng, the representative for Twic East County in Jonglei state, said.
"Yau Yau is a threat to the territorial integrity of this country, a threat to peace, a threat to security," he added, accusing Yau Yau’s forces of being behind attacks on three cattle camps in Twic East County last month.
Yau Yau has denied he was behind the attacks, in which officials have said 79 people were killed, 20 children abducted, and some 25,000 head of cattle rustled.
Yau Yau first rebelled against the government in 2010 after failing to win a seat in Jonglei state parliament.
In 2011 he accepted an offer of amnesty from Kiir and returned to Juba where he was promoted to the rank of general in the South Sudanese army.
But last year, he resumed his rebellion against Juba, and this time, his rebels were numerous and heavily armed, according to the Small Arms Survey, a respected independent research project based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Kiir made a new offer of amnesty to Yau Yau in July and has also appointed a committee of church leaders to start peace talks with the rebel leader.
The head of South Sudan's national reconciliation committee, Daniel Deng Bul, who is not directly involved in the negotiations with Yau Yau, advised against rescinding the amnesty offer to the rebel leader. Instead, he said,Yau Yau should be encouraged to come to the negotiating table.
“I think Yau Yau needs to realize that there is no struggle that can be completed with bullets," he said.
"This country has been fighting for 21 years, but we did not receive this nation with a bullet. What happened in the end is people sat down and they negotiated," he said.
Yasolo Oketa James contributed to this story from Torit.