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Forces Loyal to rebel Peter Gatdet Yaka declared a ceasefire in response to President's Amnesty
Bith Jonathan
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Peter Gatdet Yaka with SPLA officers arriving in Mayom with teams from the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan [Credit:UNMISS]

BENTIU/NAIROBI - The South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), the army rebellion created and headed by Major General Peter Gatdet Yaka has declared an immediate ceasefire in order to pave way for negotiations for a possible reintegration into South Sudan Army (SSA).

Reading a well worded statement today on behalf of the group, SSLA Spokesman, Bol Gatkuoth Said the group has accepted the amnesty given by the president of the Republic, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and will continue to negotiate the necessary integration steps in good faith if the Government part of the negation agree without pre-conditions.  
SSLA is the biggest armed group in the country with the total number of 12,750 heavily armed men, Mostly from the Unity State where its leader, Peter Gatdet hailed. 

Since its disastrous revolt in May this year, SSLA claimed more than 300 lives and displaced thousands mostly in Unity State and its surroundings. the rebels were also accused of planting land mines and at one point brought to an halt an oil production in Unity State after trucks owned by one of the oil companies were struck by land mines.  

Bol Gatkuoth Meanwhile, told AFP news Agency that "The decision came after pressure from our international friends, and the call of the South Sudanese people that the government is serious about reconciliation," However its unclear whether the rebels' key demand of tackling corruption and Mismanagement in the Country would be a prerequisite for agreeing the deal.

South Sudan Government acknowledged that the contacts with the rebels really did take place but still maintained that the talks are preliminary and that concrete grounds are yet to be made. SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer went further saying: "we want this peace so much this time, If the ceasefire is declared by SSLA, it would be a big psychological boost for South Sudanese", Aguer Said.

President Kir reiterated his amnesty plea on July 9 to all the rebels operating to topple the Government of South Sudan. In response to the President's amnesty, Late Lt General Gatluak Gai agreed to negotiate with the Unity State Government to begin his integration. But within 48 hours after the negotiation, Gatluak was killed in a mysterious fashion, with his deputy claiming responsibility for the killing. Gatluak's family instead pointed fingers at SPLA, accusing the Southern Army of the plot which the army denied.

Southern Sudan since last year witnessed deadly rebellions by various armed groups working to overthrow the government. the high prolific being the one orchestrated by former deputy army of staff and Jonglei State Gubernatorial Candidate, George Athor. Athor was joined in the bush by General Sultan Abdel Bagi Ayii of Bahr El Ghazal. However, its yet to be seen whether both men would respond to the president's plea or not.

The Upper Nile Times

Author: Bith Jonathan
Post : August 3, 2011
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