BOR, SOUTH SUDAN— South Sudanese rebel leader David Yau Yau has agreed to begin peace talks with representatives of the government, members of a delegation from Jonglei state's Murle community said Wednesday after meeting with the hold-out insurgent chief.
“We told him to stop his rebellion because it is affecting the community and destroying development in the area. He accepted and demanded government officials talk with him," Nyany Korok, a Murle youth leader who was part of the 15-strong delegation that met with Yau Yau, said.
The group met with Yau Yau on Monday and took his proposal to meet with the government to President Salva Kiir the following day.
“The president is now studying the matter to see how to implement it," Korok said.
"It is for the president to see when to send his committee to meet Yau Yau and to fix the time for that meeting. But as community members, we shall keep talking to Yau Yau all the time so that he can stop fighting and allow a way for peace."
Yau Yau has been leading a rebellion in Jonglei state for more than a year.
Last month, rebels loyal to Yau Yau captured the town of Boma, but government forces quickly recaptured the psychologically important town, which was the first captured by the South Sudanese army from the Sudan Armed Forces during the long civil war in once-unified Sudan.
Yau Yau declined a similar amnesty offer from Kiir earlier this year, which several other rebel leaders took up.
Last week, Murle leaders said they would try to get Yau Yau to commit to peace talks, banking on the fact that he is from the same ethnic group as they are.
South Sudan Army spokesman Philip Aguer welcomed the reports that Yau Yau has agreed to meet with the government.
“It is the forces of Yau Yau that have been attacking the SPLA bases. Whenever there is peace, the SPLA welcomes that peace,” he said.
But, he added, the army will remain vigilant, should the rebel leader change his mind.