News / Africa

Rebel Leader: We Want Our Own State

United Nations troops protect civilians in Jonglei state, where David Yau Yau's rebels claim to be on the verge of taking Pibor town and preparing to send troops to attack the state capital, Bor.
United Nations troops protect civilians in Jonglei state, where David Yau Yau's rebels claim to be on the verge of taking Pibor town and preparing to send troops to attack the state capital, Bor.
John TanzaCharlton Doki
Rebel leader David Yau Yau said Monday he is fighting for a separate state for ethnic minorities who are deprived of their rights in South Sudan, and dismissed as "a joke" an offer from the government in Juba to hold peace talks.

"This time around, we are fighting for the people of South Sudan, the minority communities like the Murle and the others," Yau Yau said by phone from Pibor in an exclusive interview with VOA News.


"They don’t have a voice... they don’t have rights to live in the land. We don’t have a voice in the government. We are struggling together with them and we’ve lost some of our sons," he said.

"We are fighting now to get our own freedom, to be given our own state."

An ethnic Murle who was once a student of theology, Yau Yau confirmed that rebel fighters under his leadership have captured the town of Boma and are "still moving ahead," ignoring calls for peace from church leaders, including the retired bishop of Torit diocese, Paride Taban, who said the fighting in Jonglei has forced hundreds to flee their homes. 


Boma, in Jonglei state, is psychologically important: it was the first town the South Sudanese Army, the SPLA, captured from the Sudan Armed Forces during the long civil war against Khartoum, taking control of it in 1985 and holding it until the end of war in 2005.

On Monday, Yau Yau's rebel movement said in a statement that it was "on the verge" of capturing Pibor town and that two battalions of rebel fighters had been sent to attack Bor, the state capital of Jonglei.

"There will be no car that shall move between Juba and Bor town in coming few days," the statement said.

"The civilians should avoid travelling between Juba and Bor town as soon as possible for their own safety."

Yau Yau dismissed the government's offers to talk peace, calling what Juba was offering "no kind of peace at all. It’s just a joke."

Yau Yau first rebelled against the government in 2010 after failing to win a seat in the state parliament.

"His armed engagements with the SPLA resembled minor banditry attacks rather than full military operations and resulted in relatively low death tolls," the Small Arms Survey says on its website.

In 2011 he accepted an offer of amnesty from President Salva Kiir and returned to Juba where he was promoted to the rank of general in the South Sudanese army, the SPLA.

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.

"It is estimated that 4,000–6,000 largely Murle youth have either directly joined Yau Yau’s ranks...The SPLA have captured AK-47s and RPG-7s from the rebel forces, but reports suggest that they are equipped with machine guns and mortars as well," the Geneva-based NGO said.

Government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Yau Yau was not fighting for a cause, like minority rights, but because he was a sore loser.


"There’s no truth in what he’s saying he’s fighting for," Marial said.

"This government is well represented, if it is an issue of ethnicity. He’s not fighting for this cause; he’s fighting because he lost the elections," he said.

Yau Yau's rebels have been accused of numerous killings since they relaunched their insurgency, including the slayings of more than 100 civilians and their SPLA escort in a cattle raid in January, and five UN peacekeepers from India and seven local staff members last month.

The government launched an offensive against Yau Yau's rebels in March this year, vowing to defeat the insurgents by the start of the rainy season, usually in May.

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: James Obale from: UK
May 15, 2013 8:14 AM
This Yau yau guy is a big joke to freedom fighters all around the world.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs