S Sudan rebel group declares ceasefire

2011-08-03 16:02
Khartoum - A South Sudan rebel group led by renegade general Peter Gadet has agreed to an unconditional ceasefire and is committed to talks on merging its troops with the army, its spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"We are declaring a ceasefire and we are also accepting the amnesty offered by the president as the basis of talks with the government of South Sudan," Bol Gatkouth told AFP, speaking on behalf of the heavily armed militia group.

"The decision came after pressure from our international friends, and the call of the South Sudanese people that the government is serious about reconciliation," Gatkouth added, speaking by phone from Juba.

He said the rebel group, which is based in South Sudan's oil-producing Unity state, numbers "roughly 10 000 men", and that the delegation that he was heading had just arrived from Nairobi, where it met South Sudanese officials.

The fledgling country declared independence from the north on July 09, but it faces a host of daunting challenges, among the greatest of which is the threat posed by the numerous militias within its borders.

Clashes between the army and the rebels in states across the country have left hundreds dead this year.

In his inaugural speech as president of the world's newest nation, Salva Kiir renewed his offer of an amnesty for all the southern rebel groups that he first made at an all-party political conference in Juba last year.

Read more on:    south sudan  |  east africa
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