Mass defection Hits South Sudan Rebel's Group-Jeremy Spell Blog

A wave of defections to the government
has hit several South Sudanese rebel groups
since an amnesty was granted to armed
groups in the country’s civil war early this
month, a spokesman for the military said.
Lul Ruai Koang, Spokesperson for the Sudan
People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), told
journalists in Juba that at least four senior
rebel commanders and hundreds of forces
have crossed over to the government since
the start of the week, and security agencies
are negotiating more returns.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir last
week pardoned his rival and former deputy
Riek Machar and other estranged groups,
after they signed a new peace deal in
neighbouring Sudan on Aug. 5.
“Every group that has come back to us will
have a very positive impact in terms of
reducing insecurity, in terms of
encouraging others who have not joined
the peace process,” Koang said when he
received some of the defectors at the
airport.
The opposition groups most hit by the
latest defections are the South Sudan
United Front led by former army chief Paul
Malong, the South Sudan United Movement/
Army commanded by Peter Gadet and the
SPLA- IO led by Machar.
William Weithiang Mut, who was Gadet’s
deputy until recently arrived at the capital,
Juba on Wednesday accompanied by some
300 forces.
The rebel defector said he abandoned
rebellion to join the path of reconciliation in
the war-torn East African nation.
James Okuk, a lecturer of Political Science at
the University of Juba said the mass
defecation is prompted by the recently
signed peace deal as many armed groups
scramble for opportunities in the proposed
power sharing government.
“These guys are realizing that rebellion is
not lucrative anymore and there are
consequences ahead. So the perceived
opportunities in the peace deal are
attracting them,” Okuk said.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late
2013, and the conflict has created one of
the fastest growing refugee crises in the
world. The UN estimates that about 4
million South Sudanese have been displaced
internally and externally.

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