Communities in Yei living peacefully with ex-NAS rebels – Commissioner

Communities in Yei living peacefully with ex-NAS rebels – Commissioner
President Slava Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar. [Courtesy]

Over 60 members of the opposition – National Salvation Front (NAS) have successfully been integrated back into the community, claims Yei River County Commissioner.

Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa said that up to 65 former rebels have since returned home and are now making meaningful contributions to the nation.

“Most of them are returning home,” Kanyikwa told City Review.

“We have officially received those who handed themselves over to the South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF). They were 65 in number and of course, some might have returned silently to the community chiefs and perhaps the chiefs did not report them,” Kanyikwa added.

According to the commissioner, most of the former ‘rebel’s started returning home in November 2021 though the number almost doubled in March (2022) which registered the highest influx of returnees.

“Most of them said that they no longer see the need to fight when the country is making strides of development…that they dropped the guns to come back and help in building the country,” added the commissioner.

He went on: “Some said that they left the bush because the fights have had a negative impact on their families – especially children, some who are out of school or in refugee camps.

“They left the bush to come and put these children back in schools.”

The commissioner appealed to members of the public to accept former rebels and help them integrate back into society.

“Whether you’re a rebel or a criminal we believe that it is the situation that forced some of us to make such a decision,” he added.

The commissioner also stated that they have encouraged chiefs to hold dialogues with communities to educate them on how to deal with the new phenomenon.

On August 8 in 2018, President Salva Kiir offered amnesty to all rebels to return home and help in nation-building.

The announcement came on the heels of an agreement signed between opposition and government, an arrangement that saw Riek Machar get one of the five vice president posts.

The transitional government ended a five-year bloody civil war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

“We have taken the President’s acceptance of the amnesty as a positive step to encourage the rebels to leave the conflict,” added the commissioner.