March 5, 2013 - 19:29 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - South Sudan's army launched a military offensive against insurgents loyal to rebel leader David Yau Yau in the eastern Jonglei state, killing 28 militants, authorities said on Tuesday, March 5, according to Reuters.
Yau Yau raised a rebellion last year, with support from his Murle ethnic group, after losing local elections in 2010.
Revenge killings between Murle and Lou Nuer tribesmen and a heavy-handed government disarmament campaign meant that peace talks between Juba's government and Yau Yau never got off the ground.
"The operation has started," army spokesman Philip Aguer told Reuters. "The community leaders had been given time to make an agreement to get Yau Yau to return but those attempts have failed."
Since winning independence from Sudan in July 2011, South Sudan has been struggling to assert law and order across vast swathes of territory bristling with weapons after the 1983-2005 civil war with Khartoum.
South Sudan's army has clashed repeatedly with rebels in Jonglei, where Total holds a vast oil concession.