President 'pardons' South Sudan rebels

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has granted an amnesty to at least 750 troops of rebel leader Riek Machar who crossed to the DR Congo when fighting broke out in Juba in July.

Defence minister Kuol Manyang Juk disclosed that Juba was ready to welcome the disarmed combatants currently residing in refugee camps in Goma should they accept the amnesty offer.

The minister was quoted by the government affiliated Dawn daily newspaper in Juba as saying: “The President of the Republic made an amnesty for those who will be ready to come back and this is the message we were carrying to the authorities in DRC.”

Send a team

He noted that the Juba government would send a team to convey the amnesty message to South Sudanese refugees in the DR Congo.

Mr Juk asserted that the fighters who fled the resurgence of violence in Juba would be treated as nationals when they return home.

“Those who will want to go back to the army; we will send them to contentment sites where they will be screened. And those who will want to be in the police, will be re-trained,” he was quoted saying.

Young nation

The minister pointed out that the amnesty was open to all rebel fighters, including Dr Machar, but on condition they denounced violence.

The South Sudan political environment remains volatile and the UN recently warned that genocide could not be ruled out in the young nation, but the government denied the claims.

Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?

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Read Story:Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?