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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs