John Garang
South Sudan's leader John Garang says his former rebel group is ready to deploy up to 12,000 troops in war-torn west Sudan's Darfur region to help displaced people return to their villages.

In an interview with VOA in Washington Wednesday, Mr. Garang said his Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) would be deployed alongside African Union troops.

The two-and-half year conflict in Darfur between mainly local rebels and pro-government militias has killed 180,000 people and displaced about two million others.

Mr. Garang's rebel group and the Sudanese government in Khartoum signed a peace accord in January ending more than 20 years of civil war.

Under the accord Mr. Garang becomes first vice president of Sudan's national government.