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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid