SPLA-IO team returns to Yei
The advance team of the SPLA-IO faction who claimed allegiance to rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar and who recently signed the Kampala Peace Agreement has arrived in Yei River state, said the state information minister.
Stephen Ladu Onesimo said the team came as per the security arrangement which provides that the SPLA-IO leaders have to come to the ground to disseminate the detailed information of the Kampala Peace Agreement.
“The advance team of the SPLA-IO fighters has arrived in Yei River state, and they are coming to do the implementation process, the team is headed by Brig. Gen Yuma Sabastian,” he said.
The minister claims that more than five thousand people attended the rally that was conducted last week in which speeches were given by both the government and the rebel officials.
Onesimo said the coming of the advance team is a clear indication that a faction of the rebel forces is ready to implement the peace agreement that was signed early this year.
Early this month a faction of the SPLA-IO forces led by Brigadier General Hillary Edson Yakani signed a peace agreement with the government of Yei River state under the mediation of the Bishop of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) bishop Elias Taban. The peace agreement was signed in Kampala.
Onesimo said the SPLA Command in the state has made a commitment to release all prisoners who were detained in the name of the SPLA-IO.
He said both parties have agreed to open up the roads as well as removal of the check points along the roads so that normal business resumes in the state.
Onesimo however stated that they are waiting for a communication from Bilpam-the military general headquarters- so that the IO forces are assembled in designated areas.
He said authorities in the state are yet to determine the total number of the forces.
Yei River state was considered one of the most peaceful states until war erupted in 2014 between the forces loyal to Riek Machar and those loyal to President Salva Kiir. Since that time many residents fled to refuge settlements in neighbouring countries.
By Morris Dogga