News / Africa

Amid South Sudan Fighting, One Rebel Leader Seeks Peace

Rebel leader David Yau Yau, shown here at an undisclosed location in Jonglei state, has reportedly reached a peace deal with the government.
Rebel leader David Yau Yau, shown here at an undisclosed location in Jonglei state, has reportedly reached a peace deal with the government.
Lucy Poni
As fighting continues between South Sudanese government troops and forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, long-time rebel leader David Yau Yau has agreed to lay down arms, officials say.

"The ministry of defense has this declaration of ceasefire by the Sudan People Liberation Army towards forces of David Yau Yau following the progress of negotiations that have been on-going for the last three months," South Sudanese Army spokesman Philip Aguer said in an announcement read out on national television Monday.

"I am directing the leadership of the SPLA to put into effect a ceasefire and to cease fighting forces of David Yau Yau," he said.

Yau Yau began holding peace talks with the government three months ago after holding a series of meetings with religious leaders led by Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Torit. 

Taban said Yau Yau and his rebel forces have "remained peaceful" since the negotiations began and even when the violence that erupted in Juba on Dec. 15 spread to Jonglei state, where Yau Yau is based. 

Many civilians displaced by the on-going fighting have sought refuge in Yau Yau's home county in Jonglei, Pibor, Taban said.

“That is why he gave a letter to the president that he wants a ceasefire to be done so that the people under his care should be supplied," the retired bishop said.

"He said, 'I will never join war, I am waiting for peaceful reconciliation with the government.'”

In the statement read out on television, Aguer said Yau Yau and the government have recognized "that given the humanitarian crisis that has befallen the civil population in the entire areas of Jonglei... there is a need to cease hostilities."

Just weeks later, a delegation of Murle leaders from Jonglei state met with Yau Yau and pleaded with him to "stop his rebellion because it is affecting the community and destroying development in the area," Nyany Korok, a Murle youth leader who was part of the 15-strong delegation that met with Yau Yau, said.

Following the outreach by the Murle leaders, Yau Yau agreed to begin peace talks with representatives of the government, but it took several months for the negotiations to get under way.

"Yau Yau has been ready for peace since November," Taban said.

"He selected 10 of his people -- they were ready for negotiations. The government promised to give us five (delegates for negotiations) but we have been waiting until now,” he said.

The bishop said the talks between Yau Yau and the government will be held in Addis Ababa as soon as a government negotiating team has been named.

Yau Yau first rebelled against Juba after he failed to win a parliamentary seat in the April 2010 general elections, accusing the ruling SPLM party of rigging the elections.

In 2011, he accepted an amnesty offer from President Salva Kiir and returned to Juba where he was promoted to the rank of SPLA general. But in 2012 he left the army, fled to Khartoum, and started a new rebellion against Juba in Jonglei state.

Rebels led by Yau Yau have been accused of being behind a cattle raid a year ago in which more than 100 people were killed, most of them women and children.

Juba  has accused Khartoum of supporting Yau Yau’s rebellion in a bid to block plans to build a oil pipeline through Jonglei state and Ethiopia, which would reduce South Sudan's dependence on Sudan for exporting its oil, the mainstay of its economy.

Sudan has denied the claims, and on Monday, during a visit to Juba, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir pledged that Sudan will never support rebels fighting against the government of one of its neighbors because it "would only cause instability, exhaustion of resources and destruction of ties between countries."

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Blackstar Deng Bol from: JUBA
January 08, 2014 1:53 PM
It is gr8 respect for yau yau to honor that reports we all welcomes him as brother among bothers and sisters in south sudan

by: Riek Yak Guandong from: South sudan
January 07, 2014 11:32 PM
You were not to accept peace like that this can prove that u fought for nothing n u will be held accountable for the death of civilians in Jonglei that will lead u to be taken to the ICC. u better fight along side with Machar to overthrow Kiir. believe me i told u the truth.
In Response

by: yom Gak from: why know
January 12, 2014 9:17 AM
We better die than supporting Riek
In Response

by: African from: Canada
January 08, 2014 9:39 AM
So, he'd rather fight to avoid being transfered to ICC? Talk about pointless fighting!

by: Joe from: Minneapolis
January 07, 2014 8:55 PM
Rebelled twice now seeking amnesty again. Bring your neck. Salva Kiir, will slaughter you like a chicken. If you you have no power why rebel anyway? You caused hundreds to lose their lives thousands displaced because you are thirsty of power and now you need to be pardoned, give me a break. My advice to you is if you are defeated, go to exile, and be betrayed like George Athor killed a nd brought to see S Sudan like meat in a Butcher or you stand your ground.
In Response

by: peter jowang from: nairobi
January 09, 2014 2:47 AM
Hey bro! Are you crying or advicing? If it is crying cry alone and if it is advice it is too late by now. We need peace. Look for those who heed your advice but not us COBRA FACTION.

by: Mary Obat from: Omaha\NE
January 07, 2014 6:14 PM
I hope Yau Yau will keep his word . He has broken the promise twice!

by: Realist from: USA
January 07, 2014 4:56 PM
Are the minorities in Jonglei getting their state?

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs