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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

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

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
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.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs