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ABIEMNHOM - 26 Apr 2013

Southern militia defects from S. Kordofan to Abiemnhom

A large group of South Sudanese militia fighters opposed to the Juba government have surrendered, returning to the country from South Kordofan state with the intention of re-joining the government.

The group are currently in Unity state on the border with South Kordofan, according to the Abiemnhom County Commissioner Arop Toruk. He told Radio Tamazuj that the militias arrived in his county on Wednesday and were met by him upon arrival.

Toruk claimed that the fighters have been joined by their family members, including women and children, and are hoping to create peace by joining the government. He believes this will help to maintain security and stability in the region.

The group had originally violently opposed the South Sudanese government although the commissioner did not disclose the leadership, size of forces or the type of arms they possessed. He did, however, claim that they were moved to return to South Sudan by its current stability.

“When we say forces we mean military forces and these are military issues. It’s very difficult for me to give details on how they came or their numbers. They were rebels based in northern Sudan fighting the government of South Sudan, so they were convinced by the current situation and decided to come back to their homeland,” Toruk claimed.

Sudan and South Sudan began to implement an earlier cooperation agreement last month which prompted both to pledge not to support proxy militias within their neighbour’s territory.

File photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran/ UNAMID