SEVEN years ago, David Yau Yau was a theology student at
Emmanuel Christian College in the south of Sudan. Today he is the
leader of a militia engaged in a bloody battle with the government
of the new country there.
Earlier this month, the Primate of the Episcopal Church of
Sudan, Dr Daniel Deng, called on this "prodigal son" to return to
the negotiating table, as the UN warned that 100,000 civilians in
Jonglei had been cut off from aid as a result of fighting.
"We do not wish to accuse nor demonise David Yau Yau," Dr Deng
said. "He is our brother, our son, our fellow citizen, our
parishioner, loved by us. But we wish to advise him that in the
newly independent nation of South Sudan, violence is no longer
acceptable as a means of solving disputes."
The government crackdown, launched in March, on the Yau Yau
insurgency in Jonglei is taking place amid a resurgence of conflict
in the state between the Lou Nuer and Murle groups (Mr Yau Yau
belongs to the latter).
On Monday, the UN announced that it was stepping up its military
patrols in the state to allow families to return home and to
provide access for humanitarian aid. Since last month, an airlift
has been providing food to two previously inaccessible
Dr Deng has suggested that Mr Yau Yau is being supported by a
foreign government to destabilise the country, and that some
political interests within South Sudan may be manipulating the
situation for their own ends. He also said that the Yau Yau
rebellion "is not part of the same dynamic as the conflict between
Human Rights Watch has reported that human-rights violations by
the army of South Sudan are "cited as a major reason why large
numbers of Murle youth joined the rebellion led by Yau Yau".
Last month, the agency claimed that the army had failed to stop
armed Lou Nuer youth from moving into Murle areas, and had
committed "serious abuses" against civilians. This "reinforces the
perception that South Sudan's leaders are taking sides in this
Last year, the Presidential Committee for Peace, Reconciliation
and Tolerance brokered a peace agreement signed by the leaders of
Jonglei's main communities. Last week, Dr Deng, who chaired the
committee, complained that the government, the UN, and charities
had failed to devote enough attention to its implementation.
Refugee workers ejected. Sudan has not renewed the work
permits of20 of the 37 members of the UN High Commission for
Refugees (UNHCR), based in Darfur. Most were asked to leave in
July. The agency said this month that ithad had to scale down its
support for displaced people there. There are currently two million
internally displaced persons in Darfur, of whom 1.2 million live in