Bor — South Sudan army spokesman, Colonel Philip Aguer has confirmed that, David Yauyau, who rejoined the government last year, has defected for a second time.
Aguer said the former general in the South Sudanese army (SPLA) escaped to Khartoum two weeks ago with the intention of rejoining southern rebels based in the Sudanese capital, without the knowledge of the military.
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, Judy Jokongole, 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 Yau Yau's initial rebellion may have been more about internal Murle politics than electoral grievances.
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 SPLA 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 SPLA has failed to assert and extend its authority, beyond the conduct of brutal disarmament campaigns that have served to stoke local discontent."
However, Aguer said that current disarmament going on in Jonglei is meant to create a peaceful state and prevent internal conflict. He said that the SPLA was also focused on confronting any enemy that comes from outside South Sudanese territories.
Since independence in July 2011 Juba has repeatedly claimed that Khartoum backs southern rebels in an attempt to destabilise the young nation. Sudan denies this insisting that is is Juba backing rebels in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Aguer said the SPLA is on high alert but said Yauyau's defection will not affect South Sudan in anyway. Despite his estimated small numbers of soldiers - in his previous rebellion - Yauyau was still able to cause considerable instability in Pibor County, 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.
George Athor and Gatluak Gai, who held military positions and had greater numbers of supporters were perceived as a greater threat by the Juba government before they were killed in 2011, both in disputed circumstances.
The SPLA say that Athor died in December in Central Equatoria State while trying to recruit men into his rebel group the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDA/M). However, the SSDA/M say that Athor was killed on a trip to Kampala and accuse the Ugandan government of complicity in his death. This is denied by both Juba and Kampala.
Gai was shot just a week after signing a deal with the SPLA in July last year. A disaffected member of his group claimed responsibility for his death and the SPLA has denied involvement.
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