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S. Sudan president welcomes deal with Yau Yau rebels

February 1, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, through his spokesperson, praised the ceasefire agreement inked on Thursday between his government and Jonglei-based rebels led by David Yau Yau.

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South Sudan president Salva Kiir (Reuters)

Presidential press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny said the document widened the room for further negotiations with the group.

"This is a very important step which the president appreciate for peaceful settlement of political differences," said Wek at press briefing on Saturday in Juba.

The government declared unilateral ceasefire with Yau Yau’s group on January 6. It was and accepted David Yau Yau a day later but it took until January 30 to for a deal to be signed.

The cessation of hostilities agreement ends two years of insurgency which Yau Yau has led from his home county of Pibor county with young men from his Murle tribe.

However, Yau Yau’s fighters are mainly armed civilians who engage in cattle rustling and analysts are skeptical about the viability of any agreement.

South Sudan’s government moved quickly to reinvigorate its efforts to end Yau Yau’s rebellion after fighting within the army on December 15 spread into a conflict that has mainly affected Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.

This is not the first time that Yau Yau has accepted an amnesty from president Kiir.

Yau Yau rebelled against South Sudan’s ruling party - the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) after elections - in April 2010 when, as an independent candidate, he lost his campaign to represent the Gumuruk–Boma constituency in Pibor county at the Jonglei state assembly.

In 2011 Yau Yau joined the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and was made a General despite his lack of military experience. He had previously trained as a pastor.

However, he rebelled again in April 2012 leading the SPLA to announced that it was suspending the civilian disarmament campaign in the area to focus on nullifying the rebellion.

(ST)