JUBA, (Xinhua) --
Several South Sudanese rebel groups have been hit
by a wave of mass defections to the government since an amnesty
was granted to armed groups in the country’s civil war early
this month, a spokesman for the military said Wednesday.
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
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 neighboring 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.
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.
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.
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.