Post-electoral violence continues to plague Jonglei state in South Sudan as another armed group rises up in opposition to April’s election results. The group, comprised of an unknown number of youths supporting defeated parliamentary candidate David Yauyau, clashed with the South Sudan army, or SPLA, late last week.
Yauyau, who ran as a United Democratic Front party candidate, accused the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, or SPLM, of setting up fraudulent elections. "No other political party was allowed to win, this has angered everyone… Voters were threatened and beaten," he told Reuters.
The number and severity of clashes between Yauyau’s forces and the SPLA remain unclear. Reuters reports that the two groups clashed last Thursday, with Yauyau’s group attacking an army base. Sudan Tribune reports that the two forces have clashed twice—the first time on Friday, and the second, at an unknown time, initiated by the SPLA.
The potential for continued fighting prompted the U.N. to evacuate 10 aid workers, leaving an estimated 11,000 people without access to food aid. “The security situation was getting bad,” said a World Food Program spokesperson. “There were reports of mobilization of soldiers and that the population was moving out of the town…We decided to relocate.”
Renegade SPLA General George Athor, who has clashed with the SPLA multiple times because of similar election grievances, maintains an armed presence in Jonglei with an unknown number of soldiers. According to Reuters, Yauyau said he was in touch with the renegade general, but did not say whether he would join Athor.
The two rebellions are a reminder of how easily exploitable pre-existing inter-communal and inter-military tensions in the South are, and should be a red flag for Sudanese actors and international guarantors of the CPA alike, in the countdown to the referendum.
Photo: South Sudan soldiers (IRIN)