South Sudan’s military forces killed the country’s highest-profile rebel leader, a man who posed a significant security threat to peace inside the world’s newest country, an official said.
Rebel leader George Athor was a former lieutenant general in South Sudan’s military during the 1983 to 2005 civil war with Sudan. However, Athor launched a rebellion after losing an election for governor of Jonglei state in April last year, a vote he maintained was rigged.
Troops loyal to Athor fought repeatedly with South Sudanese forces over the last year, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
South Sudanese officials on Tuesday leveled serious charges against Athor, saying he had been making contacts with the region’s most insidious rebel group — the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) — and that officials in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, had been financing him.
South Sudan has repeatedly accused its northern neighbor, Sudan, of providing support and assistance to Athor and other rebel groups. Sudan has denied those accusations.
South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar, in announcing Athor’s death on Tuesday, said Athor had been in Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda recently in a drive to recruit fighters.
Colonel Philip Aguer, South Sudan’s military spokesman, said Athor was making militant contacts in preparation for a Christmastime attack.
Aguer said one South Sudanese soldier and one of Athor’s men were also killed during the exchange on Monday evening.
Aguer said Athor’s death was a major victory for the people of South Sudan which “has deprived Khartoum of an important tool.”
Athor was the last major rebel leader still active in South Sudan.
South Sudan has tried repeatedly to broker peace with Athor. During South Sudan’s independence ceremony from Sudan in July, President Salva Kiir offered amnesty to all rebels fighting in the country, including Athor.
Machar said on Tuesday that the deal still stands.
“I call on all who rebelled against the government to lay down their arms and join the process of peace and development,’’ he said.
Athor’s death will likely be seen as a victory for South Sudan, which has been plagued by rebel movements for years.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by