Report: South Sudan militia leader surrenders to army
South Sudanese militia leader Gabriel Tanginya has turned himself over to the army in a move coming after army-rebel clashes at the weekend, the Sudan Tribune reported Monday.
The online edition of the paper cited regional authorities as saying Tanginya voluntarily turned himself over to the Southern Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) forces in a bid to continue the process of integrating the rebels with the SPLA, DPA reported.
The development came after clashes between the two sides which both said were unexpected since they had already agreed on a deal for reintegrating their forces.
The SPLA said on Sunday that 57 rebels were killed in the fighting on Saturday, with sources in the SPLA also denying that the army had started the clash.
According to the Sudan Tribune report, an SPLA source said that the army was hand-delivering a message from South Sudan President Silva Kiir to Tanginya requesting that the militia leader come to the capital Juba.
At that moment, a bullet was fired from an unknown person on the periphery of the gathering, triggering the gunbattle, the newspaper report cited the SPLA source as saying.
With South Sudan set to become an independent state in July after the January referendum, the erstwhile rebel army SPLA is to be the regular army, with other rebel groups to be integrated into it.
By SPLA account some 5,000 such rebel forces have already been reintegrated.
But the southern Sudanese government in Juba accuses the Sudan government in Khartoum of financing and supplying weapons to rebel groups, with tensions particularly high along the future border.