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SPLA says 200, not 1,500 rebels surrendered in Unity state

October 2, 2013 (JUBA) – The South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has put the number of rebels who surrendered to the army earlier this week in Unity state at 200 and not 1,500 as was previously claimed by former rebel leader Bapiny Monytui.

Monytui, the former leader of the rebel South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM), claimed about 1,500 rebels loyal to General Oyuok Ogot and Gordon Koang had surrendered to the government in Unity state under a presidential amnesty.

However, SPLA spokesperson Colonel Phillip Aguer put the number at 200.

“Our preliminary assessment is that the force is much smaller than what has been publicised in the media. They are around 200 fighters, all loyal to Oyuok Ogot. This is the information we have at the moment”, Aguer said in a statement to Sudan Tribune.

However, Gordon Buay, the spokesperson of the now former rebels, insisted that 1,500 rebels had surrendered.

Earlier reports following the rebels’ surrender indicated that the fighters were from the camps of both Ogot and Koang. But the SPLA spokesperson says the fighters they had assessed so far were under the leadership of Ogot.

Buay claims that Koang, who is reportedly to be in Khartoum, has established contact with the South Sudanese government and that unspecified arrangements were still being made prior to his return.

(ST)

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