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SPLA says rebels being re-armed in Jonglei

September 10, 2011 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s army has repeated the accusation that North Sudan - a separate country since the South seceded in July - is arming a rebel group in Jonglei state.

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A survivor of a massacre by rebel forces on the town of Fangak displays a bullet in front of burnt houses in Fangak, southern Sudan Thursday, April 7, 2011 - (AP))

As part of a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum South Sudan voted to separate from the rest of Sudan earlier this year. Despite running its own affairs for the last six years, the peace agreement has not brought stability and security to the war ravaged region.

On Saturday Philip Aguer the spokesman of the SPLA - South Sudan’s former rebels who are now the official army - told Sudan Tribune that the forces of rebel leader George Athor Deng were mobilising at Phom el Zeraf in Fangak County of Jonglei state.

He said planes had been seen landing in the area and that the SPLA believes this was to deliver weapons and other supplies from Khartoum.

Athor began his rebellion after a failed bid to become Jonglei governor in elections last year. As a former general and minister in the southern government, Athor is the most senior defector currently fighting the SPLA.

Some armed groups in the fledgling country, have accepted an amnesty offer by South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and reintegrated into the SPLA. Despite peace talks Athor has yet to come to an agreement with Juba.

Aguer said the renegade general maintains his presence in some pockets of Jonglei because his men have attacked Mogok and Ayod recently. However, the army is more capable of dealing with him, the SPLA spokesperson said.

The forces and affiliates of Athor are accused by the SPLA of arming ethnic groups in the volatile state. The SPLA say Athor is being used as a conduit for the National Congress Party, Khartoum’s ruling party, to destabilise South Sudan. Both Athor and Khartoum deny this.

(ST)