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David Yauyau / David Yau Yau

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South Sudan rebel leader David Yau Yau (UN photo)

Name: David Yauyau / David Yau Yau


Yauyau 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.

The SPLM candidate, Judi Jonglei Bioris, won the race by a wide margin according to electoral authorities. Before his failed election bid Yauyau studied theology in Southern Sudan and Kenya and then served as the Pibor County secretary of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Jonglei.

Yauyau hails from the Murle ethnic group, which is based in Pibor County where he carried out most of his activities during his first rebellion. A report from the Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) of the Small Arms Survey said last year that Yauyau’s initial rebellion may have been more about internal Murle politics than electoral grievances.

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SPLA soldiers at Bor Airport leaving for Pibor to hunt for David Yau Yau’s militias, July 4, 2012 (ST)

The Murle, Luo Nuer, and Dinka as well as some other tribes in Jonglei are involved in cycle of raids and counter raids for cattle, bounty and revenge that escalated dramatically over December and January displacing over 100,000 people.

A disarmament campaign has been underway in Jonglei since mid-March involving 15,000 soldiers and police in an attempt to disarm the civilian population. In the past disarmament campaigns have entrenched the Murle’s disaffection with the SPLM and SPLA and their perception that they are marginalised at a national level, according to the 2011 HSBA report.

The report said: "Murle discontent and general insecurity in Pibor county have proved to be fertile ground for such a revolt, and the area is one where the South Sudanese army (SPLA) has failed to assert and extend its authority, beyond the conduct of brutal disarmament campaigns that have served to stoke local discontent."

In 2011 Yauyau joined the SPLA but rebelled again in April 2012. After an increase in violence in Pibor County the SPLA announced that it was suspending the civilian disarmament campaign in the area to focus on nullifying the rebellion.

Despite his estimated small numbers of soldiers - in his first rebellion - Yauyau was still able to cause considerable instability in Pibor County, in one instance clashing with the SPLA outside Pibor town just two days before South Sudan’s independence referendum.

Unlike other figures who led insurrections after the 2010 elections Yauyau was a civilian and not a member of the army before his rebellion - although when he reconciled with Juba in 2011 he was given the position of General in the SPLA.

From 2004 to 2006 Yau Yau studied for a Diploma in theology at Emmanuel Christian College in Yei in Central Equatoria State under the teaching of the now Bishop of Bor Diocese, Rev. Ruben Akurdit Ngong.

In December Akurdit said he had thought the young David Yau Yau "was going to make a pastor" but admitted "he has turned to a big enemy of his own country.”

Report by the Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) Project of the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey from February 2011: David Yauyau Rebellion, Jonglei State.

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HSBA’s note on the rebel David Yau Yau


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