September 29, 2013 (WAU) – Two rebel leaders active in Upper Nile State have reportedly abandoned rebellion against the South Sudan government and sought pardon under an amnesty initiated by President Salvar Kiir.
- South Sudan former rebels. (File Getty Image)
Reports say Ayuok Agot and fighters loyal to Gordon Koang on Saturday voluntarily abandoned armed rebellion and handed themselves over to the South Sudan army with about 1,500 of their fighters. This number could not however be independently verified.
The rebels are said to have been responding to an amnesty offered by President Salvar Kiir and were received by General Johnson Gony Bilieu, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) Upper Nile sector commander.
When contacted, SPLA Spokesperson, Colonel Philip Aguer said he had only received reports about Oyuok Ogot showing up with his forces at Kaka Tajaria and not Gordon Koang.
“I do not have information about Gordon Koang at the moment. We received a report today that only Oyuok Ogot has come. We thanked them for realising the importance of peace and stability in this country”, Aguer told Sudan Tribune in an interview on Sunday.
The SPLA spokesperson did not provide specifics on the number of fighters that had abandoned rebellion saying that information was still being assembled.
Sources that spoke to Sudan Tribune said Gordon Koang will fly to Nairobi from Khartoum before joining his fighters who came out with those of Oyuok Ogot. The sources say it is likely the Sudan government is aware of Gordon Koang’s plans.
In April President Salva Kiir Mayardit offered an amnesty to six militia groups irrespective of the crimes they had committed while fighting against the government.
Contact with David Yauyau
The militia groups have also claimed that they together with government are in contact with another militia leader- David Yauyau, whose forces have repeatedly rejected Presidential amnesty and continued to fight government forces in Jonglei State.
The response from David Yauyau is said to be positive this time round. The rebel leader is said to have indicated he is interested in seeing peace return to Jonglei.
The State has been the scene of tribal violence between the Murle and Lou Nuer on one hand and fighting between Yauyau’s fighters and the SPLA.
Supports for integration
The abandoning of rebellion by the rebel groups has been welcomed by Bapiny Monytuil, a former rebel leader of the South Sudan Liberation Movement which was the first group to respond to the presidential amnesty in April 2013.
Monytuil said he was happy with the decision of the militia groups to abandon rebellion and called on the international community to assist the government to expedite integration of the various groups into the national army.
‘‘We urge the international community to assist the government of South Sudan to integrate those who accepted amnesty into the organized force. The United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the donor community needs to compliment the efforts of president Kiir who is working very hard to bring peace in South Sudan”, the former militia leader group said in a statement on Sunday.