September 5, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Defence Majak D’Agot Atem said the government was committed to making peace with the Jonglei militia leader David Yau Yau and allowing members of his group to return the government.
The country’s second top military official made the remarks days after leading a high ranking delegation to areas where government soldiers fell into an ambush reportedly laid by armed elements loyal to Yauyau, killing 24 soldiers. Several others went missing while a dozen of soldiers were wounded.
He said the army is working to contain insecurity from “spilling over” into other areas.
"We are working with the Ministry of Interior to make sure our people live in peace. I still believe that if David Yau Yau wants to come home he is welcome because he is a South Sudanese and he can come home”, said the country’s influential military figure turned politician
He explained that was working to ensure that insurgency is kept under controlled so that it does extend beyond some areas of Pibor County.
"We are doing everything possible to keep this problem within the limits of its scope; we don’t want it to spread to the whole of Pibor. We are also doing everything possible to ensure that it does not spill over to other neighboring areas like Akobo and Bor. We do not want extend it Eastern Equatoria State", he said.
Yau Yau was a former civil servant working with the Jonglei State government before rebelling after losing his bid for a legislative seat in the Jonglei parliament in the 2010 elections. He briefly responded to a Presidential amnesty offered by Salva Kiir and signed an agreement with the Juba government in 2011 before taking up arms again in April 2012.
He accused the government of failing to honour the deal and allow his fighters to be integrated the national army ans well as the absorption of some of his political supporters into the government. Yauyau also wanted to remain a general by constitutional rather than self-appointment.
South Sudan’s police chief, General Acuil Tito Madut, said on Wednesday it is coordinating efforts to contain Yau Yau’s rebellion in Jonglei from extending to neighbouring areas through strengthening collaboration with local communities.
Fighting between rival ethnic groups in Jonglei which affected over 100,000 people has led to an ongoing state-wide disarmament campaign.
“There are many ways to end conflict in Jonglei." General Madut, who is the Inspector General of the South Sudan Police Service said Wednesday.
"One of the ways to end this conflict is involving local communities in all security related coordination to collect and disseminate information."
The other way, he said, was to continue to the disarmament process being carried out by over 10,000 soldier and police.
"Organising peace and reconciliation conferences between tribes and politicians can also promote peaceful coexistence and strengthen social ties," General Madut said.
The police chief made the remarks in an interview with reporters at the premises of the Ministry of Interior after returning from a visit to Jonglei capital Bor, where he attended the handing over of vehicles donated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support police operations in the state.
UNDP is providing technical support to the government in strengthening capacity of its public institutions by providing technical support in rule of law, human rights, good governance, security among other identified areas of priority in the judiciary and legislative institutions.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the UN Mission in South Sudan have reported serious human rights violations carried out by the armed forces during the disarmament process. Around 30 soldiers have been dismissed for their actions despite the Army (SPLA) attempting to play down and discredit the findings, especially of the HRW report.
The new vehicles, Madut said, will "help our police in Jonglei in the patrol and reporting because it help in the transportation of the soldiers." Jonglei, South Sudan’s largest state has many remote areas and a poor road network making it difficult for the SPLA and Police to react to conflict and unrest.
Madut said that the Police would work with Ministry of Defence to contain conflict in Jonglei.
He called on the citizens to help government by providing information of any illegal and immoral activities by criminals and armed dissidents posing threats to the community.
“With vehicles, police officers would now be able to get the information on time. What is needed now is cooperation with the citizens in providing information to the Police" as the "Police rely on the cooperation we get from the citizens”, he explained.